Sunday, 15 August 2010

DISGRACEFUL ACPO BETRAY THE FRONTLINE POLICE TROOPS AGAIN!

In yet another example of ACPO using the Home Office and the media to deflect attention away from their own nefarious conduct, they submitted a secret document*  to the Home Secretary suggesting, among forty-nine recommendations, that the pay and conditions of the federated ranks be dramatically slashed. Police chiefs submitted the secret document to the Home Office ahead of severe public spending cuts, suggesting that hundreds of millions of pounds could be saved by overhauling the long-established “Spanish practices”. *(Link to document removed 1/5/2012 at the request of ACPO)

They hope that front-line jobs can be saved by cutting the £450million a year overtime bill and other “out-of-date” rules on pay and conditions.

Under the plans, overtime rates would drop from twice the regular pay to time-and-a-half for working on public holidays.  But the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said the plans, disclosed on Thursday, were “appalling” and warned they would drive experienced police out of the job. 

A source said that, if all the cuts were implemented, an officer who had served for 12 months in his current rank could be up to £5,000 worse off a year. The leak, to the industry magazine Police Review, has caused a major row. It is an inauspicious start to what are expected to be bruising negotiations between the federation, police chiefs and ministers in coming months and it looks ACPO are are hell bent on bolstering the ‘us & them’ rift between frontline police and public, created by successive governments.

Convenient that they have the ear of the Home Office and that this document should be “leaked” to the press, when the frontliners have no such channel.

It is ACPO that conveniently didn’t tell the Police Federation that they had done it. It was ACPO that met with the Police Federation and the Superintendents’ Association, pleading for unity to resist the Government’s plans for elected commissioners to replace police authorities – after they had submitted their plans. A small number of chief constables helped the ACPO president, Sir Hugh Orde, to write the document in a week, so that Sir Hugh could then dash off for his annual leave.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "We are extremely disappointed that such an important paper has been leaked into the public domain, causing much anger and distress amongst police officers throughout England and Wales. While on first reading much in the paper is to be commended, there are many areas of very real concern which we strongly oppose and will seek to address on behalf of our members.

"While I do not believe this is the right way to do business, it is intrinsic that at a time of great uncertainty and constraint all policing bodies work together openly and transparently to ensure the future of policing in England and Wales is shaped by police officers, not individuals, for the benefit and safety of the public. We are currently in discussions with (ACPO president) Sir Hugh Orde and we hope that our concerns will be fully addressed on his return from annual leave."

For an indication of the front line reaction to the secretive, if not furtive release of this document click here.

HOW HAVE ACPO BETRAYED THE RANK AND FILE?

The manner in which this document has been leaked is far more deceitful and respresents more of a betrayal than may first be supposed. It can be no coincidence that the document entered the public arena within hours of press coverage of "Rows over Bonuses" fed once again by ACPO.

The timelines spell out the story.

In 2002/3 David Blunkett, then Home Secretary, introduced to offer incentives for performance. Five types of bonus were available, including extra payments for officers who show “professional competence” or carry out “demanding work”.

In January 2009, Heather Brooke, the reporter who broke the MP Expenses scandal, togther with Sean O'Neill, the crime editor at the Times, issued freedom of information requests of all 43 forces. A secretive bonus scheme had been set up to reward the country’s top 300 police officers, paying out hundreds of thousands of pounds every year. In some cases the bonuses were awarded on the basis of “self-evaluation” by chief constables. Critics claimed that the payments were further evidence of what was called a “gravy boat” at the top of policing. The police chiefs who accepted bonuses not only refused to reveal the amounts, but also declined to say what they were for. ACPO Intervened and the FOI requests were thwarted.

What about the rights and freedoms of taxpayers to know how their money is spent? What about knowing the criteria on which these bonuses are awarded? Are chiefs paid for achieving political goals? For decreasing crime statistics? For increasing the number of ethnic minority officers? We just don’t know.

By this time the Chiefs had been receiving the bonuses for 6-7 years. Plenty of time you might think, for them to raise objections about the immorality of such payments.

On January 24th 2009, Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, called for an end to the bonus scheme which has paid out thousands to top-ranking officers. Chief constables can receive bonuses worth up to 15% of their salary, deputy chiefs up to 12.5% and assistant chiefs 10%. These bonuses are dependent on the individual performance of the chief officers and how they lead their forces towards achieving national and local objectives. But Mr Fahy said: "Many chief constables profoundly disagreed with this because achieving the bonus might introduce an element of personal interest in how police policies were implemented. "Also, whenever a target is achieved it is usually because many members of staff have been involved in the effort. No-one does policing because of the money."


According to the Times, bosses at Greater Manchester Police received bonuses of more than £53,000 in a year. It also reported that following the Freedom of Information requests being repeated via the police authorities, that bonuses under the scheme for Norfolk Constabulary were £25,600, Devon and Cornwall's amount was £20,000 and Hertfordshire's figure was £13,300. Norfolk and Greater Manchester police authorities confirmed their totals, but Devon and Cornwall and Hertfordshire police authorities said they could not confirm their figures. The paper also said that Strathclyde Chief Constable Stephen House - the most senior officer in Scotland - was paid a bonus for his first six months in post while North Wales Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom was given £14,249.07.


The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) said it paid bonuses totalling £190,935 to 35 senior staff in 2006/2007.

Over a year later, bonus payments were, and are still being paid to Chief Officers.

The cat was well and truly out of the bag even before we wrote our first article on this on 9th December 2009. http://thinbluelineuk.blogspot.com/2009/12/top-cops-pay-crime-scandal.html

In May 2010, we published the first of three further articles - TOO MANY CHIEFS? PART 1 - THE BONUS SCANDAL EXPOSED

Introducing the full report we wrote "The arrival of a new Liberal/Tory Government committed to opening the books of public sector profligate spending has resulted in Senior Police Chiefs hitting the headlines this week, protesting that the gravy train bonus scheme they have enjoyed was "forced upon them".

How things changed since last year when ACPO intervened to stop The Times finding out which chiefs were receiving bonuses and how much they were getting.

On 18th May 2010 Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police commissioner called for the bonuses for all police officers to be scrapped to repair public confidence in the service.



On 14th August 2010, the most recent attempts by the ACPO to denounce the bonuses they have enjoyed for SEVEN years hit the headlines. Private sector-style bonuses have "no place in policing", chief constables have said amid reports officers received more than £150m last year. The payments have always been "anathema to policing", said ACPO head Sir Hugh Orde. ('ANATHEMA' - A curse, a detested or loathed thing'). For something that was so detested, so loathed, considered so much of a curse, it must have been awful for them to have to tolerate it for 7 years!

Decisions on bonus payments are made by individual chief officers but many, including ACPO vice president Tim Hollis at Humberside Police and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, have refused to accept them.



Sir Paul has said he has 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)



How these words ring true when applied to many of the upper ranks of British policing.

Where were the protestations and signs of dissent when the bonuses were introduced and for the 7 years many of these fat cats have been gleefully riding the gravy train and happily taken their millions in this orchestrated, deceitful practice. Yet another example of the ACPO ranks using the media to protest their innocence about the bonus schemes. More smoke and mirrors to suggest that this was forced upon them by the Labour adminstration. HOGWASH!      Sorry chaps... TOO BLOODY LATE!    Forgive us if we don't believe a word of it.

"EVIDENCE OF RECENT COMPLAINT" - If the Chief Officers that have benefitted so extravagantly from these bonuses possessed an ounce of honest decency, they would have rejected the bonus payments in their entireity from day 1. Only now, when they are looking to ingratiate themselves with the new Government, do they protest that bonuses were a devisive anathema.

AND WORSE . . . . 

The disclosures in this article and previous reports we have published from these pages detail some of the extravagances that have surfaced to date. Knowing that they have accepted these payments regardless of the recent protestations, ACPO now

commits the ultimate betrayal of deflecting the attention away from their activities to issue this secret document without consulting the rank and file, and guess who and what is the target if their attention?

YOU GOT IT! The frontline officers who benefit legitimately from the extra hours they have to work just to provide us, the tax paying public with the basic police service. Who got the management of resources so badly wrong in the first place, resulting in less than 10% of warranted officers employed in visible policing? YEP, those very same ACPO Officers.

To quote from Sir High Orde in the introduction to the "secret document" : "The police service of this country is used to dealing with crisis; it is what we do. Normally they are of the operational kind so well illustrated by recent events in Cumbria and Northumbria. However, the current challenge is one that is shared by the whole public sector. In short, we are facing the most severe cuts in living memory".

To the policing Ministers that read these pages, the rank and file officers of this country, and the tax paying public urge you to start your cuts AT THE TOP, with these very ACPO Officers.  A good place to start would be those officers revealed only this week who are paid more than the Prime Minister.

























FOOTNOTE 1

A well written article on this subject, informed and reasoned is worth a read at http://thethinkingpoliceman.blogspot.com/2010/08/police-bonuses.html

FOOTNOTE 2

Police Oracle post their account on the leaked document fiasco today 18/8/2010
http://www.policeoracle.com/news/Concerns-Voiced-Over-Leaked-ACPO-Document_25837.html

Concerns Voiced Over Leaked ACPO Document
17-Aug-10
Fed Chairman calls for explanation after members were not consulted about pay and conditions recommendations…...
The Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales is calling for a meeting with ACPO President Sir Hugh Orde amid controversy over a leaked association consultation paper.

In an interview with PoliceOracle.com, Paul McKeever said he wanted an explanation as to why the restricted document – details of which appeared in the press last week – were not made available to the Federation before being sent to the Home Office.

The ACPO paper – which was submitted before the release of the government’s Policing in the 21st Century consultation document –contains recommendations about how savings could be made, including changes to the current regime of overtime and a review of the rank structure.

Among the proposals are the reduction of overtime payments on public holidays from double time to time-and-a-half and the scrapping of the minimum four-hour payment paid on rest days, public holidays and recalls to duty.

The document also suggests that a raft of additional payments and performance related pay schemes could be scrapped to realise “immediate cash saving measures”.

While accepting that the vast majority of the document covers familiar themes, Mr McKeever said 12 of the recommendations are “hugely detrimental to members”.

The Chairman said: “There was absolutely no consultation with us at all over this, and it has caused a great deal of distress to rank-and-file officers.

“While on first reading much in the paper is to be commended, there are many areas of very real concern which we strongly oppose and will seek to address on behalf of our members.”

He added: “The way this matter has been handled is not the way to do business. You have to have some sort of consultation with all ranks and I will be speaking to Sir Hugh Orde and asking for a meeting with him next week.

“It is intrinsic that – at a time of great uncertainty – all policing bodies work together transparently to ensure the future of policing in England and Wales is shaped by police officers, not individuals, for the benefit and safety of the public.”

However ACPO Vice-President Tim Hollis said that the Association had been asked to put its views to the government ahead to the release of the Policing in the 21st Century Consultation paper last month. He stressed that the Association had “always held the Police Federation in high regard”.

He added: “In these challenging times it is particularly important that ACPO, the Federation and the Police Superintendents’ Association work together closely.

“ACPO acted swiftly to initial requests to inform the debate prior to the government’s formal consultation on policing. Since then the Home Office has published Policing in the 21st Century as a consultation document.”

Mr Hollis concluded: “ACPO is currently working on a formal response to this consultation and we will, of course, discuss our response with our policing partners.”

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