Thursday, 20 November 2014


The dishonest politician’s guide to handling the police
Professor Tim Hope offers a five point plan for governments on how to push up approval ratings by destroying the legitimacy of the police.
By: Professor Tim Hope
Date: Thursday, 20 November, 2014

The publication on 18 November 2014 of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary’s final report of an inspection of crime data integrity in police forces in England and report – Crime Recording: making the victim count – prompted me to reflect upon how successive governments have corrupted the police for political advantage. Here’s how to go about it:

1. Give the impression that you know how to reduce crime (but don’t be too specific)

Say that the police service is your main means of reducing crime; don’t discourage the police from their cherished belief that they are the 'Thin Blue Line' against disorder, and that the public loves them for it. Feed the police a lot of barmy ideas about how effective in crime fighting they could be (and watch them quietly squirm in the certain knowledge that much of what they do, or you can think of, has no impact on crime whatsoever).

2. Pretend that police recorded crime statistics are a true measure of crime and of victims’ needs (but don’t believe this yourself; use your own surveys)

Reinforce this with performance targets, actual or implicit; these should not be too much of a stretch. Even better, they should merely match your best guess as to how much crime would continue to reduce if nobody did anything (in the eventuality that crime went up instead of down, blame the police for not doing what you said they ought to do).

3. Pretend that the police don’t belong to you anymore

Pretend that they are accountable to the public through directly elected commissioners (but know that these panjandrums can be brushed aside if needs be, since nobody actually voted for them; don’t give them any means of holding their police services to account for their performance; then set them to squabble over the funds you will be doling out – you’ll get a better bargain that way). Nevertheless, keep a tight hold on the purse strings, and on all the data and analytical skills you need to assess police performance.

4. Start waving a big stick

Make the Chiefs’ salaries dependent upon their performance; pay them like CEOs (to inspire the envy of the ranks) but let a few of them go, to keep the rest in line; start hacking-away at the perks of the job that have built-up amongst the rank and file, while squeezing the middle-managers who are trying to run the show; abolish the closed shops that had run the police, including the Old Boys’ Network of Chiefs and ex-Chiefs, and put the Bloke with the Hatchet in charge of the inspections.

5. Don’t bother to upgrade the skills of the rank and file police officer

Establish a College of Policing that doesn’t hand-out degrees to its undergraduates; make sure you maintain a lower level of entry and training qualifications into the police service than are asked by the other safeguarding services with whom the police collaborate on a daily basis (just to reinforce their inferiority complex); and focus on the traditional policing skills (so that you can then emphasise the low-grade nature of the work, and employ cheaper labourers from the private sector).

Wait and see what happens

Once you have implemented all of the above, wait and see if your own measurements of crime go down (don’t let anyone doubt that your measuring instrument is anything other than truly comprehensive and unimpeachable). If crime goes down, take all the credit for the reduction; say that this is what you paid the police to do (if it goes up, blame the police for not doing it).

Once you’re confident that crime is going down long-term, start wondering out loud why we still need all those police officers (the public think there are lots of them because you’ve trumpeted expanding police numbers in the past). Say that you can’t trust them to do a good job anyway. Start talking about all those crimes and victims that don’t need Bobbies on the Beat (but don’t do much about them).

Talk about how the police must also share the pain of austerity cuts, look for efficiencies, etc. like everyone else. Actually abolish all those performance targets and red tape because what police officers really want is to be out there on the front line fighting crime (instead of sheltering from the elements inside a warm, comfortable police station with their workmates).

Sit back and wait for the police to start fiddling the figures to make themselves look better, knowing that they have always done this, ever since there were figures to fiddle. Withdraw the auditing that kept the fiddling in check; say that the police ought to be trusted. If the police have been too enthusiastic in massaging the figures in the way you’d like, so that they give the game away and it becomes apparent that police recorded crime has gone down too rapidly, blame the police for short-changing victims (don’t admit that you’ve always turned a blind eye to this sort of thing in the past).
Rub your hands with glee when the fiddling comes to the surface: now you no longer have to listen to those tedious Chief Constables going on about how much work they need to do, demanding more recruits, and so on, because their evidence is no longer credible (you’ve previously said that policies must be evidenced).

Selectively shine a torchlight into the affairs of a few police forces in areas where your voters (honest taxpayers) are concentrated; let a few scandals come to light, a few brave whistle-blowers sacrificed (knowing how nastily they treat ‘traitors’, you can then further dramatize the Chiefs’ iniquity at the same time as you leave the whistle-blowers hanging out to dry); let some bemeddled police chiefs face a public grilling (knowing they’ll put their foot in it), and get your parliamentary supporters to bay for blood.

Finally, you’ve left the police without a leg to stand on, so that you can then blame them for their own failings, safe in the knowledge that your voters in the leafy suburbs won’t notice their absence when you cut their numbers. Watch your approval rating rise for cutting public expenditure.

Meanwhile, let the real victims of society rot; the inner city poor (who don’t vote) can be left to their own devices; do nothing about the hatred and violence festering away; do not exempt the safeguarding services from the cuts; make it difficult for the police to protect the vulnerable or prosecute those who harm them; and then blame the police for dimming the Blue Lamp in the face of the futility of it all.

Either way, it isn’t YOUR fault, and that’s all that matters….

For Heaven’s Sake, give us a Royal Commission to sort out this mess!
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Tuesday, 18 November 2014


Police fail to record one in five of all crimes reported to them, says HMIC report

The problem is greatest for victims of violent crime, with a third going unrecorded. Of sexual offences, 26% are not recorded.

An HM Inspectorate of Constabulary report looked at more than 8,000 reports of crime in England and Wales.

The watchdog said the failure to record crime properly was "indefensible".

Home Secretary Theresa May described the findings as "utterly unacceptable", but police representatives said the situation had improved since the study.

'Serious concern'

The inspection reviewed reports of crime between November 2012 and October 2013 across all 43 forces in England and Wales.

It found that:
  • Among the sample, 37 rape allegations were not recorded as a crime
  • For 3,842 reported crimes, offenders were given a caution or a penalty notice - but inspectors believe 500 of those should have been charged or given a heavier penalty
  • 3,246 of those offences that were recorded were then deemed to be "no crimes" - but inspectors believe 20% of those decisions were wrong and a crime had been committed
  • The incidents recorded as "no-crimes" including 200 reports of rape and 250 of violent crime
The HMIC report can be accessed by clicking the link below:-

by Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondent

The under-recording of crime is more than a question of getting the statistics wrong.

If an offence isn't officially logged, it may not be investigated. And without a police inquiry there's no hope of finding the perpetrator and preventing other crimes.

Inspectors say there may well be people on the streets now, able to commit more crimes, who would have been locked up had their original offence been properly dealt with.

There are indications that some forces are improving. But there's also a warning in the report that increasing workload pressures among police - who are having to do more with considerably less - will "sharpen" the incentive not to record crimes.


"The position in the case of rape and other sexual offences is a matter of especially serious concern," said Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor.

"It is particularly important that in cases as serious as rape, these shortcomings are put right as a matter of the greatest urgency. In some forces, action is already being taken in this respect."

He said the police should "immediately institutionalise" the presumption that the victim is to be believed.

"If evidence later comes to light which shows that no crime occurred, then the record should be corrected; that is how the system is supposed to work," he added.

'Lapses in leadership'

Police are obliged to inform victims about their decisions, but in more than 800 of the cases examined there was no record of the victim having been told.

Victims may have been under the impression that their crimes were being investigated when they were not, the report said.

It said relatively little firm evidence had been found of undue pressure being put on officers to manipulate figures.

Tom Winsor
Tom Winsor said the presumption should be that victims should be believed

But in a survey, some officers and staff did say performance and other pressures were distorting their crime-recording decisions, "and when presented with that picture, a number of forces admitted it".

Inspectors were told that pressure to hit crime reduction targets imposed by "middle managers" had the effect of limiting the number of crimes logged.

The report recommended that standard training established by the College of Policing be provided by each force.

'Pressures from workload'

Mrs May said: "It is never acceptable for the police to mis-record crime. Failing to do so not only lets down victims, but the wider public who expect to be able to trust the integrity of police recorded crime."

There had been "utterly unacceptable failings" in the way police forces have recorded crime but matters were improving, she said.

Shadow policing minister Jack Dromey said it was time for Mrs May to "get a grip on this and make urgent changes to the way the police record crime".

Chief Constable Jeff Farrar, lead for crime recording at the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "Pressures from workload and target culture, use of professional judgment in the interests of victims, lack of understanding of recording rules or inadequate supervision can all lead to inaccurate crime recording.

"There have been allegations of improper practice, such as dishonest manipulation, in crime recording, however, the biggest and most in-depth inspection ever conducted by HMIC could not find anyone to come forward with any firm evidence to support this."

Ch Supt Irene Curtis, president of the Police Superintendents' Association, said recorded crime was a measure of demand on police resources rather than police performance.

"HMIC's report covers a period of at least 12 months ago and recognises that considerable improvements have already been made since that period," she said.

Crime numbers

Earlier this year an interim report by Mr Winsor, covering 13 forces, made a similar conclusion that a fifth of crimes could be going unrecorded by police.

An unrecorded crime is classed as one that is reported to the police but not recorded as an offence.

Last month, official figures showed the number of rapes reported to and recorded by police in England and Wales was at its highest ever level.

The Office for National Statistics said there were 22,116 recorded rapes in the year to June, a rise of 29% on the year before.

Separate statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales showed overall crime fell by 16% to 7.1 million cases.'inexcusable-crime-recording'_86228.html


1.Nu Labour introduced performance targeting in 1997
2.Before this, the recorded crime & detection rate of the 43 forces had always been as you would expect, some good and some not-so-good.
3.Performance targeting rewarded Chief Officers with 15% bonus payments on top of their salaries.
4.Within 3 years (and for the first time in history) all but one of the 43 forces reflected massive decreases in recorded crime and increases in detections.
5.The dramatic downturn in recorded crime played a major part in the Coalition decision to include policing in the comprehensive spending review plan for cuts to the service that we have witnessed.
6.Crime rates play a large part of determining the resources required to police a force area.
7.Manipulated statistics lies at the very heart of what enabled politicians to use policing as a political football. "Crime has fallen dramatically" they said "so now we can deliver more with less".
9.The Chief Officers who were responsible, constructed, oversaw, turned an blind eye or allowed to continue the pernicious deceitful processes imposed upon the rank and file and the public.
10.The rank and file officers were compelled to implement policies that compromised their professional integrity.
11.The Public Affairs Select Committee, driven by the evidence of James Patrick and others revealed that recorded crime had been fiddled mercilessly for years. Chief Officers brought before the committee presented woefully, despicably defending the strategies they had either engineered or endorsed.
12. The Office of National Statistics withdrew its approval for police recorded crime, throwing official mistrust over the numbers.
13.Theresa May and others continued to adopt the "crime is falling because of our efforts" mantra.
14.It is no surprise that HMIC have found there is an "inexcusably poor" level of police recording of crime - with more than 800,000 crimes unrecorded each year.
15.It is also no surprise that the HMIC could only ever scratch the surface of the consequence of these practices. We would hardly expect there to be a paper trail of guilt ridden evidence leading the inspectors to uncover the whole spiders web mess that has been created.
16.When pointing the finger of blame for the malaise that exists within the service, yes, Theresa May, Tom Winsor Tony Blair and other notables have been instrumental.
17. The heaviest mantle of responsibility must lie with the Chief and senior officers, who, from 1997 onward, lacked the courage, vision and moral compass to resist performance targeting and the payment of divisive corruptive incentive bonuses. Only they benefitted. Everyone else, rank and file and the general public were cheated of the police service we deserve.
18.Chief Officers represent(ed) the service. If there had been more leaders and fewer managers, we might have seen a stronger resistance and rejection of performance targeting resulting in so much corruption and malpractice and decimation of morale. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Theresa May and Front Line Police; An Irreparable Breakdown

The revelation by the Police Federation that the morale of rank and file officers was at its lowest ever level will as no surprise to those struggling to maintain an effective police service in urban and rural areas throughout the UK. The Federation survey mirrored that carried out by the University of the West of England some months ago and indeed by internal police surveys compiled by individual forces.

Whilst police surveys show much criticism in relation to the leadership of chief officer ranks, the police rank and file collective finger of blame for the inescapable fact that their morale has all but collapsed points only in one direction; namely towards Home Secretary Theresa May. It is no exaggeration to say that as Margaret Thatcher was to the miners and mining communities, Theresa May is to rank and file police officers and their families.

Police officers expected tough times ahead regardless of which party took power after the 2010 general election; what they did not expect was constant criticism and vilification from the holder of one of the country’s greatest offices of state which culminated in her infamous speech to the Police Federation Conference in May of this year.

‘Teflon Theresa’ or ‘Cruella,’ as she has become known, listed every single police transgression going back 25 years to the time of Hillsborough. In fact the number of officers ‘responsible’ for such transgressions, and we should remember many remain alleged, probably numbers less than 100 in total. The anger of officers was compounded by the fact that ‘fiddled’ crime figures were listed amongst the series of transgressions. Amazingly later in the same speech she claimed credit for the apparent 20% reduction in crime figures which would have been based on the ‘fiddled’ figures she condemned just minutes earlier.

There is strong suspicion that Theresa May’s attacks on police are part of an attempt to divert attention from the truly disastrous performances of her own law enforcement creations namely the UK Border Agency and UK Border Force. These dominated headlines earlier this week following yet another damning report, this time from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.

The Home Office ineptitude in respect of UK Borders inevitably impacts on the police. Theresa May’s failure to strengthen ‘chocolate teapot’ border controls has resulted in hundreds of jihadists being able to travel back and forth with impunity. Foreign criminals, whether from within Europe or otherwise have also been able to exploit lax controls while drug traffickers are having a field day in that customs trained officers are frequently taken from anti-smuggling duties to ‘stamp passports.’ Cocaine seizures at airports are down by 76% and this again adds to the burden on front line police officers.

Theresa May’s most recent onslaught on police took place at the Conservative Party conference last month. The main content of her speech concerned terrorism but the first ten minutes consisted of a blistering attack on front line Metropolitan Police officers accusing them, in essence, of racism based on stop and search.

Despairing Met officers would have hoped that she might have tempered this criticism with a realisation it is not the fault of police that inner city areas suffer from poor schooling, lack of parental role models, poor housing and a woeful lack of job opportunities with 54% of young black males between the ages of 16 and 24 being unemployed. The blame for this sorry state of affairs can only lie at the door of successive, inept governments.

Surely, they argue, these conditions invariably breed gangs, drug dealing and the violent crime that goes with it. In London this grim cocktail has resulted in the tragic deaths of innocent teenagers who have been murdered as a result of being wrongly identified or for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Whether gang members or not, every murder victim is someone’s son or daughter and front line officers would argue that this is the primary motivation for officers carrying out stop and searches rather than simple racial harassment. The fact that dozens of young men and women would be alive today had their assailants been stopped and searched before encountering their victims appears to have been ignored by Theresa May and should have at least been considered in what remains a contentious issue.

Now, to add to the woes of an already demoralised service, there is a very real threat to police officers, whether on or off duty, from ISIS or other jihadi terrorists, many of whom would have breezed through border controls to learn their craft abroad or have been indoctrinated within the UK’s justice system or via the internet.

There is little confidence that Theresa May will take the necessary steps which will help ensure the safety of officers whom she clearly appears to despise. Sadly in the event of an atrocity being committed, one sight that no front line officer wishes to see would be the spectacle of the current Home Secretary ‘crying crocodile tears’ at the funeral of a police officer who has been murdered by terrorists. They will be only too well aware that such a tragedy will have been assisted by government hostility, complacency, cutbacks and sheer incompetence.

It is indeed a sad indictment of the breakdown in the relationship between police and the Home Secretary that a number of front line officers have instructed that, in the event of them dying in the line of duty, ‘that woman’ be barred from their funeral.

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