Saturday, 25 December 2010

A SEASONAL THANK YOU TO ALL POLICE OFFICERS


We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our visitors a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year!

At this time, it is all too easy to forget that our police officers are out there selflessly serving, away from their homes and families, ensuring we are protected and able to enjoy our festivities safely and peacefully.

We would like to take a few moments to thank those officers who are working over the holidays.


video

Police officers confront and overcome obstacles every day at the risk of their own lives to benefit our communities, and we owe them a massive debt of gratitude for their efforts.



Please spare a few appreciative thoughts for our police officers.

I have been where you fear to go...
I have seen what you fear to see...
I have done what you fear to do...
All these things I’ve done for you.

I am the one you lean upon...
The one you cast your scorn upon...
The one you bring your troubles to...
All these people I’ve been for you.

The one you ask to stand apart...
The one you feel should have no heart...
The one you call the man in blue...
But I am human just like you.

And through the years I’ve come to see...
That I’m not what you ask of me...
So take this badge and take this baton...
Will you take it? Will anyone?

And when you watch a person die...
And hear a battered baby cry...
Then so you think that you can be
All those things you ask of me...?

So often we take our freedoms for granted.

We forget those who put their lives on the line every day to ensure our safety and freedom.

Police officers do more than enforce the law; they serve and protect. Every day, officers go to work not knowing the challenges they will face, but they do know the danger every challenge will bring.

Rather than think of danger, officers think of courage. They selflessly work to make this country a safer and freer society.

Police officers sometimes have to make difficult choices. They have to protect those who want to do harm. They do it because they believe in the law. Justice has to be enforced, and they have answered the call of duty.

Police officers dedicate their lives to preserving justice and safety for us all in this country.

They continue to protect us from danger and risk their own lives in the process. We should pay tribute to police officers for the sacrifices that they make in the name of freedom.

"They are our soldiers of humanity. When the devil roars, they shield us from evil".

Wishing you all a safe, peaceful and enjoyable Christmas.

To each and every one of you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Steve B

Thin Blue Line

Friday, 17 December 2010

A MERRY & SAFE CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE ON THE THIN BLUE LINE

CLICK IMAGE TO SEE FULL SIZE

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

TWO POLICE OFFICERS STABBED IN LONDON


A police officer and a community support officer are in critical condition after being stabbed in Ealing, West London.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the Pc and the community support officer have been taken to hospital by ambulance. He said the support officer is believed to have suffered non-life threatening injuries but the Pc may be more seriously wounded. 

The attack occurred in Ealing Broadway, on Uxbridge Road, at a bus stop. The incident took place opposite the Nationwide building society branch and outside The Parish Church of Christ the Saviour. A police source said that the attack may have occurred over a bus ticket dispute.

It is believed one officer was slashed across the throat. The suspected attacker was arrested after the attack and at least ten police cars have blocked the main street as officers search the scene.

A local witness said that police had stopped two young men to search them at approximately 3.45pm. One man allegedly fled from the scene but the other attacked the officers.

London mayor Boris Johnson said he was "shocked" by the attack. "Violence has no place on the streets of London," he said.

Our thoughts and best wishes go to the officers and their families. Get well soon.

Too many people are too quick to complain about the police, but this is what Officers face on a day to day basis and many of the those moaners wouldn't want to face this threat on a daily basis to protect the lives of others.

We can't help but wonder if Ken Clarke would be so keen to include these evil scum among the thousands he would set free under his "Prison Doesn't Work" nonsense.

Like hell it doesn't! Prison is the ONLY place for these low life.

Update ...

Detectives are continuing to question a man over a knife attack on two police officers who were checking bus tickets in west London. A police constable suffered a slashed throat after he and a community support officer (PCSO) were attacked when they discovered a passenger was wanted for a recall to prison.

The attack happened at a bus stop in New Broadway, a busy shopping street in the centre of Ealing at about 3pm yesterday. The injured police officer, 23, underwent surgery last night and was today in a "serious but stable condition" in hospital with stab wounds to his neck.

The 27-year-old PCSO was treated in hospital and later released after suffering knife wounds to his head as he wrestled with the attacker. Colleagues of the injured officers, who are based in Ealing Borough, arrested a 30-year-old man at the scene. A knife was recovered. He was taken to a west London police station where he was being held in custody.

Detective Superintendent Andy Rowell, the Ealing Borough police commander, said the incident occurred when a man began "behaving suspiciously" after being approached by the PCSO. On being challenged he allegedly turned his knife on the PCSO and the officer who suffered "multiple stab wounds initially thought to be life threatening".

Eyewitnesses said the officers, who were wearing stab-proof vests, were part of an operation checking bus tickets. One officer said the suspect was stopped and when a radio check was made the pair learned he was wanted for recall to prison. The source added that when it became clear he was about to be arrested the man pulled out a knife and attacked the officers.

Another eyewitness said the suspected knifeman had been travelling on a 207 bendy bus which travels between Hayes and White City. The stabbings happened close to Christ Church School and a short distance from Ealing Town Hall in a street packed with shoppers.

The leader of Ealing Council, Julian Bell, said: "This is a truly shocking incident. I've lived in Ealing for 25 years and I've never known anything like this. Police officers do a fantastic job and put their lives on the line every day to keep our streets safe. Our thoughts are with the officers involved and their families. Council officers are already reviewing footage from all CCTV cameras in the area and will be giving police every possible assistance with their investigations into the incident." 

Det Chief Supt Rowell praised officers and thanked people who went to their aid. He said: "Whilst this is no doubt a shocking incident, it is extremely rare for police officers to receive injuries of this nature whilst on duty."

A Conservative election pledge that anyone caught carrying a knife could expect a jail term will not be implemented, the BBC has been told. Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said he would put sentencing policy in the hands of judges, not newspaper pundits.

His comments came ahead of a Green Paper aimed at reducing jail numbers in England and Wales through changes to sentencing policy and rehabilitation. Asked by BBC political editor Nick Robinson whether people caught carrying knives could expect a lesser punishment, Mr Clarke said ministers would not insist on "absolute tariffs".

It means that, as at present, someone caught carrying a knife may not face a custodial sentence, and may be cautioned instead.

In the Conservative election manifesto, the party said four out of five people convicted of a knife crime did not go to prison and they would send a "serious, unambiguous message that carrying a knife is totally unacceptable".

The document said: "We will make it clear that anyone convicted of a knife crime can expect to face a prison sentence." Mr Clarke was asked whether people convicted of carrying a knife could get a caution or community service.

He told the BBC: "We're not setting out absolute tariffs for particular things. What happens is pundits or newspapers suggest levels for particular forms of crimes ... Parliament in its wisdom enacts them - it doesn't work. Anybody who is guilty of serious knife crime will go to prison but I'm not in favour of absolute rules. I'm in favour of actually allowing judges to see how nasty the offender is, see what the offence was, see what the best way of protecting the public from him is."

"I'm more interested in actually, will we stop this man doing this again in future?" One thing is for certain, letting him out early won't prevent him re-offending.

Nearly 1,000 criminals, including murderers, paedophiles and rapists, are at large despite having been recalled to custody. Ministry of Justice figures show 914 criminals are on the run even though they have committed new crimes or breached the terms of their release. The total includes 22 recalled between 1984 and 1999. Those wrongly on the streets include 18 murderers, five paedophiles and 17 convicted of carrying guns.

Police should find 75 per cent of recalled prisoners classified as high risk ‘emergency’ cases within 74 hours and three quarters of standard recalls should be completed within six days. But since 2007 nearly 10,000 criminals were not back in jail within the target time.

Ken Clarke has said he wants to drive down inmate numbers through a "rehabilitation revolution" to reduce the numbers of people who re-offend after leaving prison. The Green Paper sets out plans that those who plead guilty immediately will receive discounted sentences and that there will be fewer indeterminate sentences - where there is no fixed release date.

Last year about 4,600 people were admitted to hospital in England with knife wounds. In the 12 months to June 2010, there were 29,981 knife crimes in England and Wales recorded by the police.

In July 2008 David Cameron said a "presumption to prosecute" did not send a strong enough signal and there should be a "presumption to prison" for knife crime. He said: "This is about kitchen knives stuffed down the front of tracksuits... We're talking about mainly young people carrying knives as part of a culture. That culture has to stop."

The Home Secretary, Theresa May's recent comments have exposed a Cabinet split over Ken Clarke's sentence reviews and prison reforms. She insisted ‘prison works’ as Tory anger deepened over Clarke’s attempts to liberalise the justice system. Her remarks lifted the lid on a damaging Cabinet rift over Justice Secretary Mr Clarke’s review of sentences and prison reforms, which Right-wing Conservatives say are too soft and risk a public backlash.

The Home Secretary deliberately echoed the mantra of predecessor Michael Howard, who put himself at the head of a simmering rebellion against Mr Clarke’s plans for law and order.

Mrs May told a Home Affairs Select Committee: ‘We must all recognise that in looking at the wider issue of sentencing, prison works but it must be made to work better.’

Her comments contrast with those of Mr Clarke, who has described the ‘warehouseing’ of tens of thousands of prisoners every year as ‘ineffectual’. He proposes a ¬‘rehabilitation revolution’ with thousands of offenders to be handed tough community punishments.

Lord Howard said this focus was ‘fatally flawed ... like solving only one side of a Rubik’s Cube’. Now he has seen the document, Lord Howard, the architect of the Tory ‘prison works’ policy in the 1990s, has decided to go on the offensive over the ‘flawed ideology’.

He said Mr Clarke’s Green Paper makes only ‘a couple of cursory nods’ to the idea that a prison sentence ‘protects the public and provides peace of mind’. Lord Howard attacked Mr Clarke’s ¬‘persistent denial that the rise in the prison population that has taken place since 1993 has anything to do with the near-halving in crime that has taken place over the same period’.

His intervention will be seen as a green light to rebel by many Right-wing Tories who have previously remained loyal to the Coalition. Lord Justice Leveson, chairman of the Sentencing Council, which sets guidelines for judges, also questioned the plans, saying there was no clear evidence that community punishments were more effective than prison at rehabilitating offenders.

The sentencing Green Paper will see more than 6,000 fewer prison places available in England and Wales by 2014 than had been planned.

We can only hope one place is reserved for the mindless scum who would not have been able to commit these attrocious acts if he was where he deserved to be, locked up in prison.

Are you listening Mr Clarke?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

COME IN ACPO YOUR TIME IS UP!

Hugely unpopular with the Conservatives when they were the Shadow party, ACPO have done little since the arrival of the Coalition Government to improve the regard with which they are held.

Our latest report THE CASE AGAINST ACPO - A CRITICAL LOOK AT THE ASSOCIATION OF CHIEF POLICE OFFICERS, brings together many of the moments of contraversy surrounding this self serving, deceitful, profligate, political oligarchy (self appointed non democratic organisation) who are disloyal to their rank and file officers and of doubtful value to the public at large. 

This report contains a collection of their worst moments, scandalous revelations and perhaps most importantly, the current thoughts of influential serving police officers.   

ACPO as an organisation is a massive drain on public funds. The question must be asked and answered – “DOES ACPO SERVE A LEGITIMATE INDEPENDENT PURPOSE AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, DOES THE MASSIVE EXPENDITURE REPRESENT VALUE FOR THE TAX PAYERS MONEY THAT FUNDS IT?”


We would argue that ACPO as a group, has become a divisive self-serving organisation that has proven time and time again, that it does not meet the high standards the public would expect of its most senior police officers. Riddled with controversy over recent years, as the report will illustrate, ACPO has become an embarrassing stain on the character of the police service. They have repeatedly betrayed the rank and file officers who serve under their command and numerous examples of profligate spending does not sit comfortably with the public in the current financial climate.


The time has come for this unelected, unsupervised and powerful body to be brought to heel and replaced with a legislatively-controlled organisation which can be called to account for its activities.

This report pulls no punches. It tells the ACPO story as it really is and it makes sorry reading. To read or download our full report click here. Alternatively, you can view the report from our "View Our Reports" section in the sidebar to your right.

Please feel free to return to these pages and voice your comments, anonymous is fine.


Monday, 29 November 2010

THIN BLUE LINE ON THE BBC POLITICS SHOW



Here is the BBC Politics Show, which aired on Sunday 21st November, discussing the cuts facing police forces in England and Wales. We were contacted by the BBC earlier in the week to ask if we would contribute to the program, which featured Chris Sims, the Chief Constable of the West Midlands Force, responding to questions about the cuts. To see what we had to say, click play above.


To see our article about the program click here or the link below:

http://thinbluelineuk.blogspot.com/2010/11/thin-blue-line-on-bbc-today.html

"If more money did not lead to more effective policing, it cannot be the case that less money will make it less so." Aidan Burley MP

The newly-elected Conservative MP for Cannock Chase in Staffordshire was speaking during a recent Commons debate about the impact of the public spending cuts in general, and the ability of the police to cut crime in particular.



For further reading, visit Patrick Burns (Politics Show) blog article below.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/patrickburns/2010/11/policing_after_the_cuts_what_p.html

Sunday, 21 November 2010

THIN BLUE LINE ON THE BBC TODAY



The BBC Politics Show, which aired today, discussed the cuts facing police forces in England and Wales. We were contacted by the BBC earlier in the week to ask if we would contribute to the program, which featured Chris Sims, the Chief Constable of the West Midlands Force, responding to questions about the cuts. To see what we had to say, click the link above to the BBC iplayer which will be live for around 7 days, or click here.

The BBC put together a lengthy piece on policing, so as you might expect, our contribution that appeared was somewhat shorter than was actually filmed.  

We were prepared to comment on any of the issues we have published on this site, however the BBC were attracted by our previous tagline "Too Many Chiefs" and indeed, this was used as part of their introduction to the feature.

Chris Sims answered questions about collaborative procurement of services, staffing levels and and force strutures. We were particularly pleased to hear him echo recent murmerings that Chief Officers are viewing positively the future possibilities of force mergers and regionalising forces. The sad fact though, is that despite the billions in potential savings from regional procurement, protecting frontline resources and increased efficiencies, the Government, as with previous administrations, have no apparent hunger for this option.

The reason is clear.

The Conservatives decided on the Locally Elected Commissioner strategy long before the election. In previous Government think tank reports, the regional policing concept was shelved on the basis that it would diminish the effects of localised policing. We disagree with this conclusion. When a member of the public calls the police, they don't look at a cap badge or insignia and refuse to be assisted because the officer isn't from their recognised force. Members of the public see a police officer, end of. The way BCU's are structured in forces, localised policing could remain unaffected by the overlaying of regional forces with all the associated benefits. Her Majesties Inspector of Constabulary have stated that upwards of £2.25billion in savings could be achieved by effective regionalisation.

However, the Government have set its heart on 43 Elected Commissioners being appointed to replace the existing police authorities, so regional police forces seem some way off. We're not entirely sure this has been well thought out. As our previous reports have shown, 10 regional forces as opposed to 43 at present, would bring major benefits:- 
  • The ACPO and SMT ranks could be reduced by as much as 75% (Basic salary costs are in the region of £230million)
  • 10 regional HR departments (or even 1 central unit) would shave thousands of duplicated police staff roles, save millions and prevent the necessity for front line cuts. (Police staff costs were in the region of £2.6billion in 2009/10). This could be repeated for IT and other departments.
  • 10 regional forces could save millions on an ongoing basis through centralised procurement of uniform, vehicles and other non staffing services. (Forces currently spend £2.7billion per year on non staffing costs).
  • 10 regional forces would enable the more appropriate allocation of the reserve funds in force bank accounts (see previous article) amounting to £1.2billion which is coincidentally the amount forces are being asked to shave off their budget.
  • 10 regional forces would require only 10 Locally Elected Police Commissioners instead of 43. Perhaps someone from the Government would explain why this rationale seems to have been overlooked or ignored? Or perhaps there are local authority jobs that are being protected rather than ensuring front line resources are ring fenced?  
The pressures Chief Constables are under to deliver the Government cuts, is we fear, creating a somewhat short sighted approach. Without a more long term perspective that would save many millions or billions more, Chief Officers are forced to be parochial and consider only their own forces and how they will meet the Government demands. This could indeed have disasterous consequences to essential services, unecessarily in our view.

Perhaps this is a consequence of the 5 year administration system that compels a Government to want to be seen to be achieving something within that period, rather than implementing a longer term strategy that would be more effective?

Chief Officers with little or nothing to fear from the increased scrutiny of LEC's would no doubt welcome them. many though, will resist this course for fear it will throw the spotlight onto other mismanagement faux pas and activities we have highlighted from these pages. If Chris Sims is as pragmatic and visonary as his interview suggests, he is one such officer that should have little to fear from LEC's.

PARTS OF OUR FILMING, INTERVIEW AND RESEARCH THEY DIDN'T SHOW . . .

We commented:-
  • From 1997 through to 2010, ACPO and SMT ranks increased by 16%
  • Basic salaries alone for these ranks cost in excess of £230million
  • Perks for these officers, bonuses, luxury vehicles etc amount to millions more
  • Over the same period, the constable rank increased by only 11%
  • Hence our strapline "Too Many Chiefs" - Turkeys don't vote for Christmas, so don't expect too much movement instigated by Chief Officers whose future may be in doubt.
  • 43 police forces have £1.2billion in "rainy day" reserves - it's pouring down now chaps, use some of it please.
  • STOP the scandal of paying £2.2million (2009/10) in Chief Officer bonuses
  • STOP Chief and Senior Officers "Cooking the books" of crime statistics and detections. The game is up. We know the "Gaming" strategies that have been employed to reflect decreased crime and increased detections and that many have received thousands in bonus payments as a result. This practice serves no-one and only results in false efficiencies that impact on the budgets allocated. It is deceiving the tax paying public and infuriating the officers you force to implement such strategies. Bonuses paid on this basis are devisive and massively erode public and rank and file confidence. STOP IT NOW.
  • Of the 144,000 or so warranted officers, only 10% are publicly visible. Internal roles must be scrutinised to asses the true value they provide, and if what contribution they make to the fundamentals of policing and the Government objective of "Cutting Crime".
  • 80,000 police staff and 16,900 PCSO's cost around £2.6billion and 484million respectively. Cut these areas first before the essential rank and file officers.
Chief Officers will tell us that 80% of force budgets are eaten up with manpower, so this is where the cuts will be deepest. The top performing Chief Officers know who they are. If they were to present their case for regionalised/merged forces to the Government, the common sense of increased efficiencies and huge potential savings, would make such a proposal difficult to ignore. But hey, since when has bucket loads of common sense been allowed to get in the way of knee jerk decison making? There is a huge difference between "doing the thing right" and "doing the right thing". The choices and decisions being forced upon Chief Constables may result in them doing the thing right, but if political pressure and restraint means they are doing the "Wrong Thing" pretty well, it's a poor compensation for the unecessary loss of essential services. 

If the Government do not have the hunger for regional forces, it is up to the Chief Officers to create that hunger. Show some vision and courage chaps, protect the frontline above all else and watch the morale, efficiency and confidence return. 

Monday, 15 November 2010

TOP COP PAY & BONUS SCANDAL - CHIEFS STILL RECEIVE £2.2MILLION IN BONUSES

In December 2009, we wrote about how the Chief Police Officers were riding the gravy train of exhorbitant bonuses. This is despite many of them already receiving basic salaries that exceed that of the Prime Minister.

If the article in todays Daily Mail is correct, many of these officers are continuing to show a flagrant disregard for the present economic climate. This will widen still further the divide between the Chiefs and the rank and file and looks set to create a furious backlash from frontline officers, the media, Government ministers and the general public alike.

What is truly sickening, is that these same officers will happily screw the system for all its worth, and yet will not protect the 143,000 rank and file officers who protect the public in all hours and in all weather, day in day out. They proved their disregard and disloyalty toward their fellow officers when ACPO secretly delivered a document to the Home Office containing 39 recommendations to rip apart the pay and conditions of the federated ranks, without reference to the police federation or other members of the proper pay negotiating board.

In the last three years more than £2.2million has been paid in bonuses to chief constables, their deputies and assistants, new figures show.

Northumbria Police acting chief constable Sue Sim netted the biggest payout to any serving officer this year. More than £33,000 was paid out to the top officer, who faced criticism over the handling of the Raoul Moat investigation.

The latest figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show that some officers have even seen their bonuses increase during the recession.

At Merseyside Police, chief officers received £45,192 this year - up from £33,714 the previous year. The payments included £22,178 to Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe, who retired earlier this year.

The bumper bonuses at a time when forces are facing hugh cutbacks has provoked fury amongst rank and file officers. Police chiefs have also been blasted by their own association for accepting performance-related pay.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales, said: 'We have been opposed to bonuses from the start. Bonuses for chief constables are unpopular with our members but they they are also unpopular with the public. These bonuses are being paid at a time when forces are facing cuts of 20 per cent and some frontline officers are effectively facing redundancy.'

In Northumbria, the figures, which relate to payments made in the financial year of 2009-2010 for the previous year's work, show that more than £500,000 was paid out to top officers this year on top of their wages. That compares to £700,000 in 2008.

At North Wales Police, chief officers' bonuses have almost doubled from £24,045 three years ago to £42,342 last year. That include £17,515 paid to former Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom.

At Cleveland, chief officers received £49,000, including £20,000 paid to Chief Constable Sean Price, who earns a salary of £130,000.

Durham Police Chief Constable Jon Stoddart received £18,765.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson has reportedly turned down more than £100,000 in bonuses since 2005. We can't help but wonder if he was actually offered twenty five grand a year? If so, is it documented or is this a calculation based on his basic salary?

However, five chief officers at Northumberland Police have reportedly shared £115,000 between them. More than 500 senior officers receive payments for targets worth a reported £1.5m per year.

Amid growing anger over bonus payments in the public sector, the most recent FOI figures disclose that performance bonuses for superintendents, who earn around £70,000 a year, are worth an annual £2.5 million and have risen by 70 per cent since 2007 in some forces.

Although many chief constables, their deputies and assistants are now refusing to accept their bonuses, half are still receiving an average £11,000 based on their performance, the figures show.

Five chief officers at Northumbria Police shared performance-related bonuses last year of £115,500.

In neighbouring Durham, one chief picked up an £18,700 bonus in 2009-10; in South Wales another received £14,300, and in South Yorkshire four senior officers shared £69,000.

Despite Sir Paul Stephenson telling The Daily Telegraph in May that all types of police bonus should be scrapped to prove that officers were motivated solely by their duty to serve the public, according to the 2009-10 figures, the Met remains one of the worst offenders for paying bonuses at a senior level.

Superintendents and chief superintendents who earn a performance-related bonus receive, on average, £3,000 a year on top of their salary of £62,000 to £78,000. In the Met, Britain’s largest force, 136 of the highly ranked officers shared £567,000 in bonuses – a 70 per cent rise since 2007-8.

"All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke (British Statesman and Philosopher 1729-1797)


Are they already being paid too much?

We have previously reported that there are TOO MANY POLICE CHIEFS as it is. Their basic salary levels are questionable, and the continuance of these scandalous bonus payments is an outrage and an insult, both to serving rank and file officers and to the tax paying public.

This is serious.

It is these very same Chief Officers who must assume responsibility for the mis management of resources that has resulted in a mere 10% of warranted officers providing a visible policing presence.

Whilst this top heavy, self serving boys club oligarchy of ACPO officers are allowed to continue this practice, it is killing the morale of officers who really make a difference, those who actually police our streets and protect us.  

It is abundantly clear that the ACPO ranks have practised a clever "deflection strategy" over recent months. In fear that their perks and scurrilous acts would be discovered, knowing that it was likely that a new Government would be elected earlier in the year, they set out to deflect attention away from themselves, onto the rank and file with numerous "deflections". 

We can only hope that this whole fiasco is exposed and sorted before the elected commissioners arrive.
 
 

Sunday, 7 November 2010

POLICE FORCES HAVE ENOUGH CASH IN RESERVE TO EMPLOY 40,000+ CONSTABLES!


Could someone please enlighten us as to exactly what is going on in the financial management of the police forces in England and Wales?

An article in the Telegraph today reports that a study of the 43 constabularies in England and Wales has found that almost half have more than £20million put aside for “rainy days”.

The article states that these findings call into question recent warnings from chief constables that officers and staff will have to be lost because of budget cuts of up to a fifth.

We would go further than that . . .
We would call into question whether the Chief Officers and their financial advisors are fit and capable to occupy their roles, when NOT ONLY have the majority built up empirical profligate fiefdoms with exhorbitant salaries and fiddled bonus schemes that they have fought so hard to protect, but now it transpires that between the 43 forces there is sufficient bank reserves to employ 40,000+ constables at two year service level rates!

Excuse the language, but what the heck is going on ?????

For many months we have stated from these pages that there is a major "deceitful deflection strategy" being employed by some of our most Senior Police Officers. Crime statistics have been fiddled shamelessly, linked to remuneration packages of up to 15% of Chief Officer salaries. Therea May has scrapped the policing pledge (over half of forces have ignored her instruction), and other performance based targets in favour of the eminently sensible single priority of "Cutting Crime". However, the crime and detection statistical reporting process MUST be thoroughly cleansed of its current impurities and "Gaming" practices if any confidence is to be given to statistics produced by senior police officers. Failure to do this will cast doubt over any genuine success that may be achieved in this area.

The list of profligate spending and misallocation of funds on hair brained projects and events such as the ACPO conference is endless and runs into millions.

I know, let's send out the message that we may not be able to prevent frontline job losses as a result of the Government Cuts. That will deflect from what we've been up to! Better still, as ACPO, we can cut out the proper negotiating channels of the Police Negotiating Board and the rank and file representation of the Federation. We'll compile a report that shows how we can slash the frontline overtime and recommend the payscales are reviewed. Tell you what, we'll make sure those interfering Fed boys don't obstruct our plan by sending the proposal directly to the Home Office. By the time we're done, the Government will be so tied up with pay and conditions reviews, they will have forgotten about the millions we're being overpaid and how much we've screwed the system while our mates Tony and Gordon were in charge. They might even overlook our shiny new 4x4 company cars and all those other lovely perks.

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “Like all public bodies, police forces are obliged to hold reserves against one-off events such as legal challenge. Policing by its nature is exposed to particular unpredictability and risk. It is critical to distinguish between genuine reserves and annual budgets. Most forces will expect to balance budgets at year end. Some forces may opt to build up funds to pay for planned and specific contingencies, in consultation with police authorities, and as such the level of reserves will vary between forces.”

Excuse me for sounding thick . . . .  Why can't police forces take out liability insurance like any private sector company does? The premium costs would save millions, freeing up the bank reserves to be offset against cuts.

The Treasury announced last month that central government funding for the police service would decrease by £1.2billion by 2014-15, exactly what is in the police “bank”. Rank and file leaders said that forces must now use some of the reserves — set aside for unforeseen emergencies and insurance payouts — to ensure front line services are saved.

The Metropolitan Police, the country’s largest force, has £250million in reserves. I know it's simplistic, but that would fund or save 9000+ constable positions. The second wealthiest force is Northumbria, with £82million, potentially funding/saving almost 3000 constables. The West Midlands has reserves of £70million equating to 2,500 constables.

Durham Constabulary, where 1,160 civilian workers have been put on notice, has £13 million in reserves equating to 473 coppers.  

North Wales Police, which may order 250 officers with 30 years experience to retire over the next four years after enforcing a little-known pensions regulation, has £23 million saved, 838 Constables jobs. Sussex Police, which has gone as far as barring officers from listening to music in their patrol cars to save £23,000 in royalty fees, has £50 million in the bank which would employ/retain 1,821 constables . . .  ironic considering it only employs 1,652 constables at present strength!

Paul McKeever, the chairman of the Police Federation which represents rank-and-file officers said: “Reserves are there for rainy days and we have got not just a rainy day but a hurricane force storm going through the police service. Surely if you are going to use those reserves this is the time to use them.” Spot on Paul. If this were the private sector, and those in charge of the purse strings of UK Police PLC had £1.2billion sloshing in a bank account, you can bet that the funds would be used to protect the most valuable resources, in this case, the front line copper.

Meanwhile, senior officers have also warned that the effectiveness of policing across Britain could become a “postcode lottery” because the cuts will fall so unevenly.

WHY? Why is it that no one has looked at this globally? Let's face it, whether the funds come from the Home Office or Council Tax receipts, THIS IS THE TAX PAYERS money we are talking about. Surely there plenty of bean counters within the financial side of the service who could ensure the reserves were allocated as a priority to protect our front line policing? The general public do not want or expect to see diminished police resources, especially where it matters most, in the front line response of policing, those coppers who actually turn out to protect life and property and prevent and detect crime, as opposed to the more dispensable plethora of box ticking auditors.

As well as the wide variations in the amount of reserves held, forces which receive most of their money from the central government, rather than local funding such as council tax, will also suffer disproportionately. They include the constabularies of Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and West Midlands – all of which receive four-fifths of their money direct from the Home Office.

Responding to the concerns, Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, warned of the danger of a “north/south divide” opening up in policing. Isn't it time someone applied some common sense to the allocation of funds? If a force has surplus to its requirements, then those funds should be reallocated to the forces that need them most.

The argument may be simplistic, but perhaps there is a very real danger that it has been allowed to become far too complicated than it need be. Proper due diligence of the financial needs of each force would provide a global solution here. How ridiculous can it be that a force like Sussex has enough reserves to double its strength without blinking whilst other forces are apparently under threat? 

This needs looking at urgently. 

As we have reported previously, millions if not billions of savings could be made if those in positions of influence have the nerve to take action. 

FORCE MERGERS

We have commented in detail in our previous reports that the time has come to seriously consider merging police forces. We have suggested that there could be as few as 10 to correspond with the regional areas. Finally, ACPO are being forced to accept this possibility, with Sir Hugh Order conceding that the "overwhelming majority" of chiefs want to talk about merging 43 forces into more regional units.

These chiefs now accept that mergers will save money. The historic problem is that mergers were politically unacceptable to government, allegedly hard to sell to communities and don't sit easily with the plan for locally-elected commissioners.

When a member of the public calls for a police officer, does he/she look at the officers cap badge or insignia and say "Sorry you can't deal with my problem, you're not from my force area" Of course not, all they care about is that a police officer has turned up to help them. It is no more complicated than that, and any other objection to force mergers is pure obfuscation.

Until now, we would hardly expect Chief Officers to support a strategy that might reduce their number by 75% - after all, "Turkeys don't vote for Christmas". Times have changed though, and mergers must now be given serious consideration going forward.

EFFECTIVE USE OF RESOURCES

* 144,000 police officers
* 80,000 staff  - cost £2.7 billion
* 17,000 PCSO's - 484 million
* 17% Increase in ACPO ranks 1997 to 2010***
* 16% Increase in SMT ranks 1997 to 2010***
* 11% Increase in PC rank 1997 to 2010***
* Only 11% of warranted officers available for "Visible Policing"
* ACPO and SMT ranks basic salary £230million

*** These figures prompt the question: "In view of there being a 17% increase in ACPO and 16% increase in SMT ranks and only an 11% increase in PC ranks, is there not an argument that there are in fact TOO MANY CHIEFS and an ineffective use of the resources of indians?"

Force by force, there is a top heavy ACPO/SMT and Police Staffing level.
Force by force, there is a disproportionate number of specialist or non visible roles.

The policing cuts debate fundamentally comes down to a balancing act between visible and invisible work. Half a century ago, more than a third of a constabulary's manpower was spent on those foot patrols - nabbing burglars with their swag bags.

Today there are forces that dedicate just 11% of constables to patrols because they have expanded forensic units, intelligence teams and largely invisible public protection work like child abuse, domestic violence and sexual offences.

Given the political and community pressure to protect the "front line", most chief constables are planning to cut specialist units, even though they argue they prove their worth. And many chiefs think the pressure to focus on local "visible" crime will grow if the government's pledge to create elected Police and Crime Commissioners goes through.

But surely that's the point of policing? Dealing with what matters to local people?

The time has come to strip away those roles whose value is doubtful, and there are plenty of them.

The time has come for the rainy day reserves to be used to protect the front line. It's not just raining chaps, it's chucking it down.

The time has come for some tough decisions, the right decisions about how the tax payers money is spent. Locally elected police commissioners may not be popular among ACPO ranks and perhaps we should ask ourselves why.

Could it be that a fiscally wise commissioner might actually apply some common sense to the way our money is spent? Whilst this may expose the weaknesses and activities of our Senior Police Officers and their advisors, perhaps the public would welcome the return of the common sense, back to basics, no frills coppering. Perhaps then, we might actually see the good guys start winning and more of the bad guys being caught and dealt with. 

We can but live in hope. 

POLICE MAGAZINE FEATURES THE THIN BLUE LINE


Following our recent articles summarising the responses from the police pay and conditions review, we were delighted to be asked to contribute to the November issue of the Police Federation magazine "Police".

The independent review of pay and conditions of service for police officers and staff began on 1 October 2010 with the opportunity for officers and staff to voice their views and concerns up until 29th October 2010. The deadline has now passed and we have collected all the comments which will be available on these pages shortly. A massive 7,102 comments were received in response to the seven questions asked on the Home Office site http://review.police.uk/index.php

To read our article in the Police magazine click here.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

FAIR PLAY FOR POLICE – PAY & CONDITIONS REVIEW – SUMMARY OF COMMENTS


The independent review of pay and conditions of service for police officers and staff began on 1 October 2010 with the opportunity for officers and staff to voice their views and concerns up until 29th October 2010.  

Following our recent article discussing the Police Pay and Conditions Review the deadline for comments has now passed. We have collected all the comments which will be available on these pages shortly. A massive 7,102 comments were received in response to the seven questions asked on the Home Office site http://review.police.uk/index.php

The Home Secretary, Theresa May appointed Tom Winsor to lead the current review of police pay & conditions. Tom Winsor, 52, was the Rail Regulator between 1999 and 2004, which included the period of dismantling Railtrack and the creation of Network Rail. In his period in office he carried out two major reviews of the national railway infrastructure (October 2000 and December 2003), and helped reform the industry.

Tom Winsor said: 'I am very pleased to accept the Home Secretary’s invitation to lead this review. I look forward to working alongside police officers and their representatives, and others, as they strive to ready the police service for the challenges ahead.

'I have always had immense respect for police officers and staff, and the vital work they do. Every day those on the frontline can face difficult and dangerous situations. Throughout this review, I shall be guided by the overriding principle of fairness – fairness to individual police officers and staff, and fairness to the taxpayer.

In a Federation press release, Paul McKeever, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, says:

“The terms of reference for the review of remuneration and conditions of service for police officers and staff published by the government today appear to take cognisance of the unique status of police officers and the restrictions on our private and working lives. We appreciate the fiscal situation the country faces but trust the review will take account of the difficult challenges police officers face and the extreme dangers inherent in the job. Tom Winsor says in his press statement, this is about fairness; to that end we look forward to him taking account of our views to ensure that police officers’ terms and conditions fairly reflect these dangers and restrictions and allow us to continue to provide the best possible service to the public.”

Tom Winsor has a wide remit to consider all aspects of police pay and conditions. It will include scrutiny of allowances, overtime and the cost of officers working in other force areas.

The review will cover both police officers and civilian staff, including Police Community Support Officers. Its recommendations will be costed and be in great enough detail to be introduced quickly into the service.

Having read all of the comments, here is a flavour of the responses received from officers all over the country. We have removed names to preserve anonimity of the authors.

Question 1: In the current financial environment, how would you change overtime rates? (1452 comments)

“There has to be some remuneration for the overtime worked. I have performed nearly 25 years which have all been on full shift cover. The shifts are long and when officers are dealing with incidents and prisoners they cannot walk away from work. Also rest days are cancelled to work football and PSU, this doesn't happen to the officers on the same wage working 9-5 Monday-Friday. We already have the first half hour taken off us for the love of doing the job”.

“I am a uniform Sgt working on a Neighbourhood. I work at least 6 - 10 hours every week that I do not get paid for, because there is 'no overtime'. This job is not like other jobs. I missed a lot of my children’s growing up because I have always been committed to this job and have work long hours on operations before promotion. I would not change overtime rates”.

“I am a police officer, but also a family man. If you want me to work extra days, you are taking them away from my family / friends, and you can pay me for it. I am not a slave to the job, I work to live, not live to work. I am immensely proud of the work I do, and regularly work extra hours without pay, to ensure the job is done. The powers that be have no idea how much "good will" they get from us. There are not enough officers to do the work required, therefore, if you take away the overtime rates, that work will not be done. If you won't pay us sufficiently for it, we won't do it, simple as. It wouldn't happen in the private sector, so why treat us differently?”

“I have to agree with the majority of comments that at present the overtime rates should remain in place so staff cannot be abused by management and retained on duty for unnecessary tasks that could be completed by the next shift. I also agree that the 4 hours double time after nights should be removed as it has been abused far too often, payment should be for the hours worked only. Do not let money get in the way of officers doing there job professionally and effectively by completely removing any remaining moral!”

“Maybe if each Chief Constable that joined a force didn’t change the shift pattern to further their own career then overtime would not be such an issue. If officers are working shorter shifts with less 'change over' time then overtime is inevitably going to be incurred. If there were more officers to answer calls and deal with incidents then again, less overtime would be incurred. Instead of officers being passed out to various 'here today gone tomorrow' departments then, yet again, there would be more officers to deal with things and less overtime incurred. SMT do not preplan for so-called critical dates and as such officers end up working long hours when these could have been avoided. We are salaried workers and if we work overtime we should be paid accordingly. The first half hour isn’t paid anyway! This whole debate boils down to officers not being valued for the hard work that they do and if these issues had been raised in any other field then the employees would inevitably be taking strike action”.

“It’s difficult to know where to start. I am a police Inspector 28 years service. My average hours are 60-80 hours per week. I am required to change duties at the drop of a hat by Senior Management. I as officers know do not get overtime. My point is if you attack the overtime and conditions of PS,s and Constables They, I hope will not stand for it. I chose to be an Inspector. However i did not choose to be abused by the SMT. I am not the only Inspector doing these hours. A recent federation survey showed that 80 percent of Insp regularly worked these hours. I suggest that when the findings of this enquiry are made public all officers should Lobby the federation for action.I fear they will buy out officers overtime.Please do not accept this. You will be abused as Inspectors are by the SMT”.

Summary Observations

This question received more responses than any of the other 6, reflecting the strength of feeling about the topic. The most repeated responses said:

• Overtime is often a result of poor management from Senior Management, particularly for events that are known weeks or months on advance, where redeployment would have been an alternative.
• A degree of overtime is wasted. For example, officer start times for football matches and similar events, where duty starts many hours before the event itself and resources are kept waiting around.
• Officers feel that the present overtime rate is fair recompense for the extra hours worked and this cannot be substituted to TIOL (Time Off In Lieu) without seriously weakening resilience.
• An overwhelming number of officers stated that they would rather not have to work overtime if this were avoidable, but could not see how it could be avoided without major additional resource or system changes.
• A common thread referred to the need to release more of the office based 9-5 personnel back to the environments where overtime is being incurred.
• Comments suggested that there does need to be a thorough review of the departments and officers incurring overtime, to establish whether the extra spend represents good value for money and where it might be being abused, thereby.
• Civilian overtime came into question, as the police staff increases were seen as a measure to reduce overtime, where in fact they have added to it (£62 million in 2009).
• Frontline resourcing is so thin (as reflected by the HMIC report that visible presence is as low as 11%) that officers are left with little choice on an almost daily basis but to incur overtime. Insufficient staff on the following shift to take the handover prisoner(s) and custody interview teams that don’t work past 4pm. Officers frequently start early to square their paperwork and e mails before the start of the shift and often don’t claim for it (Either in Lieu or payment). Senior managers are out of touch with the huge amount of goodwill and time given but never claimed.
• Overtime buyout for Sergeants and Constables is a no brainer because the ranks will get abused. £3,000(At a guess) might sound attractive to those nearing retirement for a nice pension top up and those in non-operational roles, but the rest of us will have their shifts pushed from pillar to post to cover the inadequate resourcing. The present rates are seen as fair as they are, but forces need to assess and address how, why and where overtime is incurred in their areas.

Question 2: Should good performance by officers, staff or teams, be recognised in pay or allowances? And if so, how? Do you think Competency Related Threshold Payments, Superintendents' bonuses or ACPO bonuses currently achieve this?
(1,022 comments)

“Why should a Ch Supt get a bonus for their STAFF's performance? Bonuses should work both ways or not at all. They get paid enough without getting extra for OUR hard work. All staff should be rewarded for doing anything 'over and above' and most would prefer time off rather than a few pounds more. I'm particularly thinking about these joke letters management send because you come into work every day for 20 years (or whatever) without a day off sick. Give me an extra day off each year not some hollow platitude letter”.

“High ranking officers only achieve their fat cat bonus payments because of the hard work and effort made by PCS/SGTS/INSPS so why on should they get paid massive bonus payments for bullying and making threats to perform to junior officers.... Scrap bonus payments for senior Management post holders as half of them haven't a clue how to police anymore and are far removed from policing. More interested in keeping to budgets, hitting targets and generally agreeing with whatever the government of the day deems popular. Neighbourhood policing seems to have been embraced with open arms by senior grovelling offcers jumping to the whim of the labour government!! Have some backbone ACPO and make a stand rather than just nodding your heads like good little puppets”

“SPP and CTRP are legitimate allowances, introduced by Government. The bonuses attributed to Superintendents and ACPO do not in my opinion have any legitimacy given the level of pay for those in those ranks. They should not be part of Police pay and conditions. SPP is divisive and should be scrapped. CTRP's are merely another point of the pay scale and should be retained, especially as it is part of pensionable pay. Performance related pay should have no part in Police pay”.

“CRTP and SPP do not work, if you are paid a good salary you are expected to perform. The bonus culture has destroyed policing with people being made to focus on certain areas in order to reach targets. Bonuses should be scrapped for senior officers, pay them well and they should do the job expected of them. If they can't do it then they don't progress and should be removed from post and reduced in rank. I would consider a system where certain roles attract an additional allowance, similar to the system employed in the armed forces. If a job is highly skilled then the officer should get more pay, the same with shift work. Without starting a fight there are some jobs far harder to recruit and more stressful than other, why should the pay be equal?”

“Do away firstly with ACPO bonuses; the 10% of salary we hear about is (mostly) collected by those at the top of the food chain. This brings about a certain sinister treatment of staff, to reach targets; targets which conflict with each other. So depending who you are reviewed by, depends on what you get kicked about. Do away with SPP & CRTP. Do away with all bonuses. It isn't right having these for a police service. BUT fair remuneration for those at the 'sharp end' 24/7. They DO deserve a new bonus. The Monday - Friday 8-4 brigade should lose out. They have it all too easy...”

“Performance related pay encourages target chasing and not good policing, witness how bonuses for senior ranks has brought about the disaffection of middle England in it's relentless drive for detections. 24/7 staff should be compensated for shift working, those who choose the comfort of an office job with weekends off should not be paid the same”.

“Ctrp should be given to those who demonstrate they are competent in their role. Senior officers bonus payments should be scrapped as they target their resources to deliver on these payments rather than police the community effectively.”

“CRTP's should stay for those who actually are competent. Chief police officers shouldn't be paid their bonuses for meeting their key performance indicators, which we all know are statistics for the press/politicians (who love them) but in actual fact bare no resemblance to real life or policing in general”.

“No. You can't measure good performance in simple terms when you are applying it to a police officer. I have had PDR's with ridiculous performance targets set, just to fill the box. That is where we are going wrong. Targets and performance indicators were the worst thing that happened to the police service. We've lost sight of what we should be doing and instead chase meaningless statistics to appease some bean counter at Home Office. Good managers know who works hard and who doesn't. Instead of rewarding the good, deal with the bad and that applies to Superintendents and ACPO as well”.

“The current SPP payments is a very divisive arrangement with 'worthy' depts/positions being decided at ACPO level. If these are scrutinised then they will be seen to be unjust. Individual bonus' will simply add to this and will alienate too many good, conscientious hard working officers who won’t fall within the right criteria or role. Supt and ACPO are paid a very good salary isn’t that salary there to reflect what is expected from them in their role? Most of them achieve their bonus' by putting the squeeze on lower ranks from whose performance they can then achieve their targets to get their bonus. Is this Justifiable? If they need the incentive of a bonus to achieve then perhaps the wrong officers are being selected to occupy these ranks. The bonus system in private industry just makes the rich even richer!”

“This is quite simple.... Does any police officer require a bonus for doing THEIR duty?Especially a Superintendent or Chief Officer!!! Bad performance should be rewarded appropriately!”

Summary Observations

The responses to this question reflected a wave of acrimonious feeling about Chief and Senior officer bonus arrangements. Many of those in receipt of payments remained of the opinion that they were divisive although naturally enough, many would not wish to see payments scrapped out of hand.

Question 3: What pay and conditions incentives would encourage police officers and staff to work on the front line (for example, in response and neighbourhood policing teams)?
(1,028 comments)

“You find in the Police that many officers as soon as they get out of their probationary period do everything they can to get off response. Hence why you will rarely find someone with ten years + experience on the front line. This is wrong, utterly wrong. They do this as some of the areas, suchg as neighbourhood policing are seen as the lesser of two evils. CID are VERY busy at certain time but most of the time are not run ragged as many response officers (and in my experience some of the most junior officers in the Force) are. If 24(7) response officers received a night/weekend allowance (as nurses do) you will soon find many of those who seek an easier life would look to stay in the front line”.

“It is absolutely right that frontline 24/7 police officers should be seen to be the backbone of the service, i say this with the caveat that i am a counter terrorism officer and have been for a number of years. If i work long hours, which i do, i incur overtime(although i have no doubt that will change)- if i work away from home for sustained periods of time, i incur overtime and some other expenses (see above re changes!) however, will i end up rolling around on the floor with a violent drunk - no, will i have to attend a nasty domestic or call of an armed robbery in progress, probably not unless i come across it, but that is the nature of the job i decided to do, without fear or favour but i also choose to do the job i am doing. Specialist roles are needed, there is no doubt about that, but the recognition of the hard work and sacrifice and dedication that frontline uniform staff put in every single day needs to be emphasized”.

“Work front line-get paid accordingly. Sit behind a desk get paid accordingly. I am sick to death of putting myself at risk on a daily basis, working in the dark and watching office staff leave work as I’m just getting there with some getting more in their back pockets than me. Pay front line cops a decent shift allowance and watch how many come back onto the streets”.

“Lets run the Police similar to a business and pay a decent shift allowance to create a differential to that of officers working Monday-Friday 9am - 5pm. Also give it to probationers who have completed 12 months service, unlike SPP. The only way to retain the correct personnel on the front line is to recognise their worth. How many officers move away from the front line when they have completed 2 years. We need to get the ratio right of front line staff and the staff in the squads we have. If you have more on the front line this will allow officers to complete the jobs with confidence, and time. Unfortunately the front line is always under pressure to meet targets I do not see that of the 'squads'. I include CID officers working shifts in the front line”.

“Front line policing is the backbone of the police service. It is what the public see and should be treated as the most important part of the service. The public don't see senior officers, they see young in service PCs who have the minimum of training and experience. These officers do their best, but they need the support and guidance of those who have been in for a while. The only way to do this is to pay response officers an additional allowance for the unsocial hours and conditions they have to put up with. Neighbourhood policing teams are staffed with people who choose to be there - why should they get an additional reward? Response teams are the crux of the job and all efforts should be made to keep as many people on those teams for as long as possible”.

"As someone who works 9-5 (training), I wholeheartedly agree that shift work should receive an appropriate allowance. Those of us who are not at the frontline should not be on the same level of pay as those working nights and the like. Posts with a requirement of shift work should have the allowance built in. For those of us on 9-5, we could get it on a pro rata basis if we had to do shift work say for a few days to cover something. The thing is, those in response need to be recognised for what they do, not have their OT rates slashed and their conditions diluted. Much of the difficulty in modern Policing is in my view created by the time spent on paperwork, regulation and the like. Why should an arrest take a crew off the street for the rest of a shift! Use the support staff for the background stuff”.

Summary Observations

This question produced a popular thread that frontline and response officers are the backbone of the service, most likely to be dealing with the difficult and or dangerous situations and members of the public. An overwhelming message came through that shift allowances should be paid to these valuable officers, thereby recognizing the extra risk and attracting more officers from less risky roles for the rewards on offer. However, the differential would need to be sufficient to both reward existing officers and attract others back to the coal face. 

Question 4: Do you think Special Priority Payments recognise those working in less popular roles, or those which require specialist skills? If not how would you achieve this?
(776 comments)

“SPP is disliked by many. However, those that dislike it tend to be those that do not get it. i.e officers who work office hours in support roles. It is important to differentiate between frontline and other. Officers working on computers who use the phone to deal with the public are not frontline. They don’t place themselves in situations of risk or respond to calls of service. Those officers who do, should get the special priority payment. The job has changed massively in the last 15 years alone. It is imperative to have an incentive for officers to remain on the frontline. Promotional opportunities are now few and far between as are opportunities to further specialise. Therefore to maintain standards and enthusiasm an effective supervisory review should be conducted and a financial reward for those officers who work over the trenches”.

“Scrap SPP and give front line 24/7 officers a fair shift allowance, shift work is very demanding and should be recognised as such, if this was applied at an encouraging rate then experienced police officers would want to stay on front line duties and this would benefit the public”.

“If those on the frontline are to be rewarded for staying there, then it should be with a payment open to EVERYONE, not just to those with more than three or four years service. The reason response policing is unpopular has nothing to do with money, but more to do with the appalling way in which response officers are treated by the rest of the criminal justice system. They are burdened with more and more bureaucratic processes, despite many promises to do away with unnecessary paperwork. If this government were to ensure that the courts severely punished anyone who assaults a police officer and were to keep the promise to significantly reduce the paperwork burden then the role wouldn't be so unpopular”.

“I think SPP should remain, despite the fact I don't get it. The list who get it should be revised. I think that Patrol/Response should be the only department who get it, if it stays at all. Patrol officers are 'front line' and normally the first person a member of the public sees. We need to reward those with great experience on patrol and who stay providing a good service to the public. Other departments whereby people apply to join should not be given SPP. It is their choice to leave response so should not be entitled to it. By selecting certain ranks and departments to receive SPP causes upset. In short it should be stopped completely or remain just for patrol”.

“A divisive system set up by a divisive Government. There is no less popular role than working the front line. That’s where the bonuses should be...catch baddies - detect crime. Not get financial rewards for good ideas and producing money saving computer programs .. to name but a few”.

“SPP's are divisive and should go, officers in the specialist roles should want to do it for their own development or job satisfaction not the money. I have been in the police service for 30 yrs and been fortunate to go into several specialist roles over that time but it was for the challenge or job satisfaction not money. I am now back as an operational sgt and the shift officers that are first to the RTC's, or fights or sudden deaths deserve the recognition and any reward”.

“SPP - get rid of them. They are an unfair payment to a selected few to the annoyance of officers who don’t get them. Frontline officers 24/7 are the ones who deserve these payments.( I am not one of them )”

Summary Observations

This question echoed the previous thread that response officers are the backbone of the service and as such are the only departments where SPP is considered appropriate. This view was echoed over and over again by officers who are not in response or frontline positions, reflecting the respect and esteem these officers are held by their colleagues (if not their Chief Officers).

Question 5: How would you treat officers on restricted duties? Should ill health retirement be changed, and if so how?
(792 comments)

“I genuinely am angry at the amount of officers who are on restricted duties due to bad back etc, when we all know a fair amount of these officers are over weight, lazy and scared of being on the street. If they are genuine, or have been injured on duty then we should look after them, if they are scared of their own shadow and are swinging the lead I think they should be retired on ill health. Likewise the obese and unfit who could not run for a bus let a lone a burglar. Why should someone who works in an office 9 - 5, has their weekends off, no rest days cancelled for mischief night, NYE, Christmas etc get paid the same amount of money as me?”

“Assess them fairly, accurately, regularly and realistically with milestones of progression - too often its a long term measure with unreasonable and unecessary restriction of duties. We have to face up to someone not being fit to serve but current rules for medical retirement are punitive for forces. They therefore occupy back room roles permanently. But don't disadvantage those seriously injured in the line of duty such as David Rathband”.

“If an officer has a genuine injury, especially one caused on duty, then they should be treated fairly and sympathetically. However, the bad back brigade (and everybody knows who they are) should be told that it is in their best interests to get their backs "fixed", as its not in the interest of the force or the taxpaying public to have a cop sitting at a desk for 20 out of their 30 years service”.

“Clearly an emotive area. The only answer is for effective medical examination with strong supportive management. We all know people who dodge work at all costs and most could be dealt with in this manner. That would leave the genuinely needy who want to be front line but who are unable to perform those duties through no fault of their own. Their skills should then be utilised as effectively as possible so that they add value and feel valued. Maintaining shift patterns and completing as much of a normal role as possible would reward the genuinely sick and would deter the malingerers (who would have little to gain). I believe, as with most of the other regulations, that the current standards are fine. It is the interpretation and implementation that lets the organisation down”.

Summary Observations

This question brought forth a unanimous thread that medical examination and professional management of the problem are the requirements to differentiating between the genuinely deserving, who should be adequately protected and those who are abusing the system, who should be managed back to work or out of the job.

Question 6: What factors should influence whether you move up pay scales? For example, time served, performance, skills, or other.
(695 comments)

“Experience counts in this job, progression by time served recognises this but those on restricted duties or who under perform should be able to be held back on the same level until such time they can demonstrate this experience in an operational context”.

“There should be annual increments for length of service but believe those with a skill should be rewarded ie firearms/marine/dog handler/ accident investigator etc. If someone has spent time becoming an expert in their field they should be rewarded what is needed is a skills allowance. Officers on shifts should get the appropriate remuneration ie 12.5% for earlies/lates and 20% if perform nights similar to police staff , why should a 9-5er who gets every weekend off get the same as someone performing shifts? Oh and I'm a 9-5er by the way :-)”

“Keep as is - e.g. length of service, but linked to annual appraisal - you only move up if you are assessed as satisfactory for that year. Keep CRT as promotion opportunities are becoming more limited. This also helps to keep up the performance of longer serving officers”.

“A combination of time served and ability should be considered. There are too many who milk the system and do as little as they can possibly do, yet still get paid the same money as someone who gives their all and works tirelessly. Supervisors should have to justify each officers competency to move up the scale each year. We really need to get rid of dead wood instead of giving them pay rises”.

Summary Observations

Time served, proven competence and experience were the most common words appearing in the responses to this question. Knowledge, experience, skills and attitude, measured by appraisal are the best yardstick for deciding whether upward moves are appropriate. Performance is a difficult area, as clearly officers believe that practical application of performance should be rewarded moreso than academic or administrative performance.

Question 7: Are there any other aspects of police officer and staff pay or conditions that should be changed in order to make them more fair to taxpayers, while also recognising the need to be fair to officers and staff?

(1,337 comments)

“Recognise that we work together. Put us on the same conditions. But recognise that if the role of the office of constable goes then in comes industrial rights like every other 'employee'. I think that this review comes at a really apt time. I say that because if our police support colleagues go on strike or there is unrest in the wider community who is it that the Govt will turn to? The police. And why is that? Because we don't strike and for that privilege society has to pay us a good wage. It's called equity. Stop job creation and make every new role be scrutinised for value for money. Stop taking on people doing back office work to feed the ever burgeoning performance culture. Put money into policing not bean counting. Stop putting money into inherently 'social engineering' type projects. Rely on experience more and statistics less. Managers get paid to manage not read bar charts”.

“I am a DS on probably the busiest borough in London. A typical week includes surveillance operations, firearms, theft, drug warrants long days, late nights not much sleep, abuse from the public / baddies .This managing serious risk from gun, knife carrying thugs in gangs that society are scared of and have given up on "we wear armour for a reason". Poor working conditions old equipment. In my group of peers outside of the Police I am the lowest earner and that’s with the OT !!.But I love it !I joined for the right reasons to do the right thing and fight crime. But don’t think that you can mess with my pension and salary i earn a just about liveable wage enough to support my family without frills and I take the abuse and long hours knowing that in 30 years its over I’ve done my bit and I'm out. Get rid of PCSO's they are a waste of money. Leave the crime managers alone to fight crime without figures games. That is being fair to the public by creating a safer environment for them to live and work in " That is value for money and the public know it, their smarter than the politicians think !!!!”

“Less chief officers. Remove the Superintendent ranks. Let Chief inspectors run Divisions and Sergeants stop being 'one of the boys' bring back discipline and pride in the uniform. Make officers march to their beats and carry their sandwiches to eat on their beat. Take away all police vehicles from senior officers and make them walk or catch a bus. Bring back the noddy bikes for beat officers. Close all police stations bar the divisional one and have caravan police stations which can be moved into town centres”.

“Far too many highly paid civillians employed by police authorities. Job creation by the last government. This includes P.C.S.O.s Blunketts Bobbies. A total unnecessary and expensive uniform carrier. Highways Agency patrols Chocolate fireguards totally unnecessary a lot of which are retired police officers on good pensions. Amalgamate smaller forces into one thus saving on Chief Constables. Deputies and Assistants plus Police Authorities. What a saving.”

“I am a police officer, I earn the lowest wage out of my social group of friends, and they all have office /production jobs - our pay isn’t reflective of what we do! We take more risks, deal with horrendous jobs, see things that the rest of the public would never see in a lifetime and everyone tells us 'I pay your wages' - yeah thanks for that! A friend who is a PSCO takes home not much less than me and is quite frankly, in his role, a waste of taxpayers money. He wouldn’t know a hard days work if it knocked him over! Get rid of PCSO's and use their wage bill to support the hard working police officers and tax payers”.

“Take a good hard look at policing as a whole. How many warranted officers are in posts that do not require warranted powers? It is about time that policing joined the 21st century and became a career streamed organisation with acceptance of prior skills, recognition of experience and dedication to a role and the ability to vary the scale of pay to suite the career stream you wish to pursue. 24/7 response officers in harms way get the warrant card and the better salary, investigators specified powers and less salary, administrators and back office staff paid according to private industry equivalents etc. That way folks can choose their path and each role gets it's proper recognition!”

“1. Pensions: We pay 11% and the public should be told this. It is not free.
2. PCSOs: On the whole they do try to do a good job - waste of money.
3. CRTP: This should stay as it is a good incentive but I think it should be assessed every year.
4. SPP:Scrap this. Pay those that work 24/7 an allowance.
5. Support Networks: Police forces are way ahead of the private sector in diversity. I think staff associations (GPA/CPA etc) should be scrapped.
6: Discipline. We need to return to a disciplined organisation.
7. Investigative Mindset: Forces get criticised for not having an investigative mindset. Proper investigation takes time.
8. Neighbourhood Policing: Scrap it. Have big shifts and put the older bobbies as permanent beat officers.
9. Prior Learning Certificates: There is a move to get the police pre-trained in law before joining with the students having to pay for the privilege of obtaining this certificate with no guarantee of a job. Why don’t the police services do this training and use the procedure as an income generation device.
I hope this helps”.

“Get back to a sensible system where the pink and fluffy brigade of back room staff are reminded they are there to support the warranted Police officers, and let the dog wag it's tail, not be wagged by it! Ensure that the cuts are severed at the heart of inefficiency, bureaucracy and ineffective management. Review the whole rank structure and remove the places where senior officers hide in HQ's carrying portfolio's of nothingness. The streets of the UK need confident well resourced Police with an efficient support, technology and data streaming, to enable them to do their jobs. Remove the inefficiency and create a national Police force and reduce the number of Chief's to about 7 regional Commanders. Go on I dare you!!”

“Police forces nationally are top heavy with senior officers and most have seen their civilian work force double in the last 15 years before talking a hatchet to police pay and conditions consider where the value for money lies the over worked and under resourced front line police officer or the army of civilians engaged performance monitoring, statistic manipulating or target chasing”.

“Change the whole service...     Amalgamate all the forces over time into regions. Each BCU could have its own identity and be run by a Chief Supt. Each region could be staffed by 1 Chief Con and 5 ACCs. Thus you would end up with let us say Leeds Police in the North East Region, Harrogate Police in the North East Region - and a massive saving on senior officer wages. Only one diversity unit for the country producing NCalt packages - massive saving. Only one policy and procedure for everything across the country - humungous savings”.

“Policing is a vocation, anyone who does this job without feeling a sense of pride and service is in the wrong job. While it is a vocation, that does not mean that our leaders can assume that we will do anything and everything for nothing. Over the years of my service, allowances have been whittled away, we have been made to work 30 minutes for nothing (I've yet to find any company in the private sector that could get away with that) and we still have no right to withdraw our labour. Any review of police pay and conditions should also review the powers and rights of the Police Federation to make sure that those who represent us have some clout. At the moment, if we are divided, then we fall. All police officers must stick together and campaign for a fair and reasonable remuneration package that recognises the unique situation we are in”.

“If the status of ACPO is undefined or unclear to a Shadow Home Secretary, then why did the Labour Goverment at the time allow ACPO to embed themselves into the Official Side of the PNB where our pay and conditions are negotiated ? ACPO is a private limited company formed by officers/staff of Chief Officer rank, yet Chief Officers still have their own staff association, the CPOSA, which sits on the Staff Side of the PNB. This situation is unhealthy. Is ACPO going to advise the Home Office to reduce the bonuses and perks of its own members? Er, I don't think so. Is ACPO going to advise the Home Office to amalgamate forces to save costs and reduce the number of Chief Officers? Er, I don't think so. ACPO should be removed from the PNB all staff associations should be governed and restricted by legislation, in the same way as the Police Federation”.

“In "A New Force", the document produced by the Think Tank 'Reform' in 2009, MP Chris Grayling, the then Shadow Home Secretary, is quoted as commenting: "It is strange that [the Bill - now the Policing and Crime act 2009] gives ACPO a statutory position in advising on appointments when the status of ACPO itself remains undefined. Is it an external reference group for Home Office Ministers, or a professional association protecting senior officers' interests? Is it a national policing agency, or is it a pressure group arguing for greater police powers?" 'Reform' suggests ACPO is a self perpetuating oligarchy and questions their role. Taxpayers should also question the role and activities of ACPO and why politicians appear to be letting ACPO embed itself into all levels”.

“The more comments I read about 'ACPO' and the more research I do into their activities the more concerned I become. What used to be the name by which Chief Officer ranks were known by and represented by has now become the name of a private limited company, registered with Company House, which promotes itself as the voice of the service. Yet at the same time these same Chief Officers want to sit on the Staff Side of the PNB and be involved in discussions with the Federated and Superintendent rank representative bodies. So Chief Officers invent another name for themselves, the CPOSA, to represent them on the Staff Side! This is scandalous and only an incompetent Labour Home Secretary could have allowed this to happen. Please Ms May, look objectively at the status of 'ACPO' and ask yourself whether they have grown too big for their boots!”

“Despite the Pro PCSO propaganda machine working overtime, I know that the public are not fooled by PCSO's any more. They dont want to be paying taxes for people in uniform who cant arrest criminals when they see crime taking place before their eyes. £25K+ every year for each one of them. For every 2 PCSOs we could have a new PC with all the powers needed to tackle criminals head on and have money to spare. Please think about it...it is common sense. Theres a drive on Specials recruitment. Specials come out on busy periods of public order. They have more training than PCSO's and have powers of arrest. We could consider losing all the PCSO's and start paying Specials Part time. Plus if they join full time, they will have had some of the training required already for free!”

“I am a long service regular Police Officer and never been a Special but it would be fair to the service and taxpayers and save millions of pounds by disbanding PCSOs. The replacement for them would be paid Specials, the more training and experiences Specials have the more money they get paid. This will be better than paying PCSOs £25,000 per year and costs of training, equipping them and other costs for this poor asset that without fail is looked at by criminals and public as a joke. Specials can do the job of the PCSOs and do it better, plus if Specials are paid they can give more time to the service and public. More importantly they can use the POLICE POWERS that PCSOs don't have. This works in other countries including Northern Ireland and there is no reason it can't work here”.

“With regard how officer and staff pay and conditions of service are decided (including the structures of the Police Negotiating Board and the police staff council): How can Chief Officers be represented on the Staff Side by the Chief Police Officers Staff Association and at the same time sit on the Official Side as members of their private limited company 'ACPO' acting in an advisory capacity? There is surely a conflict of interest or a vested interest? Surely the CPOSA should be the only body that represents Chief Officers interests, and surely ACPO should have no influence over pay and conditions, even in an advisory capacity. Why do only the federated ranks have a statutory representative body? Why not introduce statutory bodies for the higher ranks too with Regulations governing their activities? Alternatively maybe federated officers should set up an Association of Federated Rank Officers as a private limited company, a subgroup of the Federation and in competition to ACPO. This Association could no way be seen as a Trade Union. We could even seek charitable status."

Summary Observations

This question sparked a lot on controversial yet valid views, many of which echo those we have reported from these pages previously. A considerable undercurrent divide exists between the rank and file officers and the ACPO/SMT ranks. There is clearly a strongly held belief that the PCSO experiment was misguided and the funding would have been better spent on fully empowered warranted officers.

This question, more than any other reflected contributors straying off the pay subject and more into the conditions of working, which evidently need significant reform.

CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS

Many of the comments contained within the review echo the sentiments expressed by officers and staff that contribute to the Thin Blue Line and other similar sites.

Tom Winsor and the review team will undoubtedly strip out the comments that stray from the focus of pay and conditions. However, these comments are a useful barometer for the current malaise and low morale within the service and must be addressed if the service is to regain the support of its rank and file staff. This should form the basis of a separate, confidential process that provides the facility for anonymous contributions, without any form of retribution or detriment. The service needs the rank and file support far more than replaceable ACPO and SMT ranks, and this should be treated as an absolute priority.

The pay and conditions review should take full account of the views expressed by police officers doing the job as well as those officers in managerial roles.

There is a distinct “Gap” between ACPO/SMT and the frontline officers at present, and this gap widens with every publicized ACPO malpractice such as the leaked secret document to the Home Office, Chief Officer bonus payments, manipulated crime statistics and the continual building and preservation of empirical bureaucratic fiefdoms.

Pay and conditions is an emotive subject. Handled insensitively and disproportionately will send morale spiraling downward. The majority of officers accept that policing has its part to play in delivering cuts within its sector. However, this must not be at the expense of service delivery. The frontline or response policing must be protected at all costs, with pay and conditions that reflect the uniqueness of the role. Other sectors of policing, back office functions, PCSO functions, numbers and functions of Chief Officer & SMT roles must be scrutinized and proven to deliver true value for money if they are to remain.

The “Gap” between ACPO/SMT and the rank and file must be reduced if the service is to come together and deliver an improved overall service that will restore confidence both within and without the service.

In the private sector, the Directors of a company ignore the views and thoughts of its workforce at its peril. The workforce has direct interface with the public who pay the wages and know what they want and expect from the service. The time has come for rationalization and greater co-operation within the service between all ranks, with greater negotiation parity and power provided to the rank and file Police Federation to ensure that the spirit of fairness is achieved going forward. Failure to do this opens the door for politicians to divide and conquer within the service.

All past grievances should be put aside.

Before throwing the baby out with the bathwater, all sides should review the competency and fairness of the present system using the Police Negotiating Board. ACPO, in their secret document to the Home Office, suggested that the PNB may no longer be fit for its purpose. On past performance, ACPO have shown themselves not to be beyond seeking political favour above the welfare of rank and file officers and we question the validity of the suggestion and indeed their motives behind making it. On this site we have raised concerns about potential conflicts with ACPOS sitting on both sides of the negotiating committee. However, going forward, it is imperative that officers and staff are represented fairly by any body that will have an influence over the pay and conditions of our police officers. Only when all sides agree unanimously that the current mechanism is outdated, should the process be replaced.

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