• What You Measure is What You Get.

    Einstein : Not everything that can be counted counts. And not everything that counts can be counted.
  • About me.

    I know enough to know that at 04.00am it gets dark out on the streets. It has done this for the last twenty odd years, to my knowledge and will probably continue for the forseeable future. At some stage in this ‘future’ I shall retire and probably won’t give a damn if it still gets dark at 04.00am. Until then I shall be out there, somewhere, lurking in the shadows because someone, somewhere will be doing stuff they shouldn’t and then, well then I will introduce myself. In the meanwhile I shall try to remain sane and remember why I joined in the first place and try to ignore all the people who piss me off by making the job more complicated than it should be.
  • Opinions

    Any opinions contained in posts are mine and mine alone. Many of them will not be those of any Police Force, Police Organisation or Police Service around this country. The opinions are based on many years of working within the field of practical operational Police work and reflect the desire to do things with the minimum of interference by way of duplication for the benefit of others who themselves do not do the same job. I recognise that we all perform a wide range of roles and this is essential to make the system work. If you don’t like what you see remember you are only one click on the mouse away from leaving. I accept no responsibility for the comments left by others.
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  • C.T.C. Constabulary.

    A Strategic Community Diversity Partnership. We are cutting bureaucracy and reducing the recording of target and monitoring related statistics. Our senior leaders will drive small, economical cars from our fleet surplus to save money to invest in better equipment for our frontline response officers. We are investing money to reinstate station canteens for the benefits of those 24/7 response officers. We have a pursuit policy. The message is that if you commit an offence and use a vehicle, we will follow you and stop you if necessary. It is your duty to stop when the lights and sirens are on. We take account of the findings of the Force questionnaire and are reducing the administration and management levels and returning these officers to frontline response duties. We insist on a work-life balance. We have no political masters. We are implimenting selection processes that take account of an individuals skills and proven abilities for the job. Our senior leaders will have one foot in reality and still possess the operational Policing skills they have long forgotton about and seldom used. All ranks are Police Officers first and specialists second. We will impliment career development and performance evaluation monitoring of our leaders by those officers who operate under that leadership. The most important role is that of Constable. All other roles are there to positively support the role and the responsibility of Constable and the duties performed.
  • Whichendbites

    “We trained very hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising. It can be a wonderful method of creating the illusion of progress while creating confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.”......Petronius
  • Just so.

    Taxation is just a sophisticated way of demanding money with menaces.
  • Reality.

    Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.
  • Rank V’s Responsibility

    Don't confuse your idea of how important you are with the responsibility of your role.
  • Meetings.

    If you had to identify, in one word, why we will never achieve our full potential, Meetings would be that word.
  • There is always a bigger picture.

    When there is no answer to your problem, there is always deflection from the need to justify giving an answer.

How did we ever manage ?

Comms are busy with the allocation of the outstanding jobs, also trying to update the open logs with closures that have not yet been given. They have their targets to hit. The time from a call being received to answer, the time between receiving the call to the allocation of a unit to attend, also the time taken for the log to be effectively closed after finalisation. Itis vitally important stuff.

The response units are carrying 3 or 4 jobs on their to do list and trying to deal effectively with one job at a time. They are grading the calls and some just have to wait.

Comms consider other things, other possible resources, Traffic, Dog handlers, but not firearms as they usually have other things to do. They are special and cannot be committed with the 24/7 dross that is always in the pipeline. But no-one is available to be deployed.

Comms know who is on duty and what their committment is. They call several units, most of who have already been allocated jobs to their existing backlog or are currently dealing with the third from last of the umpteen jobs given.

Comms continue to call even though they know full well that every unit is committed with something and there are no spare units. The tape will record them trying to allocate to non-existent resources who are playing the game by their own set of rules. The three D’s of the big plan come to mind.

No one, and I mean no one, will break off what what they are doing because they are busy. If it is a life or death thing or an urgent, and I mean really urgent job that needs immediate response, then someone will make themselves free and pick up the pieces later on, but until that time all available units will be no available units until they are finished with the current job and try to move onto the next one.

Yet comms still call in the vain hope that someone will be kind to them and offer them a glimmer of hope that someone, somewhere will call and allow themselves to be put down for a log so that coms have one less log to worry about and the ever increasing battle to hit whatever targets are set by the crunchers can show that one particulary department is hitting its targets and is therefor performing well. I hear the experienced and wise tones of ‘the sarge’ call up and remind comms that all units are busy. The PCSO’s are out and about in one of their shiny new cars, out of town taking in the countryside scenery as they patrol in the county. The sarge is due for retirement soon and heaven knows who will keep a lid on things when he does. All that experience, all those informed decisions, all that effort to keep the ‘system’ working and the wolves from the door. I suspect the replacement will be a spingly spangly shiny example from the tick box end of the grading procedure.

There is a call about youths on a motor cycle, two up, no helmets, no index plate, on the Britannia Estate. Still no takers, silly me, I forgot, no one is free. No one is free to go to this, but even before anyone even thinks about not bothering to try to follow because of the abort or break off messages, the comms supervisor licks the arse of policy discretion to remind everyone who is not attending because they are busy, if you see it then simply observe from a safe distance and do not follow. Itis a wonder we ever catch anyone nowadays. At least comms supervisor has said all the right things for the purposes of the tape recording and arses are suitably covered. Someone calls up for a PNC check but comms only have one person manning the control tower. This is another piece of the well oiled machine falling into place. At least it shows that resourcing problems are not limited to those at the mercy of the outside world.

Comms, Traffic, Dog Handlers, just about everyone else in fact, has a list of targets to hit to show just how well they are performing towards the master plan, the really big plan that is talked about in statistical terms at all the big meetings. Who has ownership of what and general disbursement of responsibility towards some other poor sod. Hopefully your own ownership credentials might grab you something you can do something about and be fortunate enough to tick some of the right boxes, not pissing off too many people in the process.

One department fails and another succeeds. The see-saw of statistical determination of success or failure rocks consistently and inevitably to and fro. Careers are built on stuff like this, on the ever increasing ways of finding something to manage, of something to account for, all under the shroud of the big plan.

This plan causes bad feeling to add to the lack of awareness or understanding of someone else’s particular small role within this big plan, or a smart name for a problem. A problem is not really a problem if you have ownership of it.  Not everyone can be a winner and somebody has to be a loser. That is surely common sense. The big plan has no place for losers so itis up to you to find ways of being a winner. Find something as a target to measure or an objective that allows you membership of the winners club, simple, sorted.  Just like fame-factor or one of those other drive by eliminator contests. With the mention of contest it is sure that there will still be winners and losers and so the circle continues.

Every unit and department are components that form part of a organisational machine and is supposed to be working towards one plan but the objectives of each part of the machine seems to cause confusion, bad feeling and resentment because so many of them conflict. Each department is striving to hit its targets so it can be deemed to be worthy. As a result the big plan causes division and loses working together.

We need to form a working party to look for new ways of measuring things, to show how brilliant we are and to show our determination for one last big push as part of the big plan. The big plan of ownership to make your own problems bigger than anyone else’s, so that no one seems to understand that there are other people out there in the Policing world that also have problems.

Determination to work together for the big plan, for the big plan equals the three D’s of  divide, disillusion, disrupt.

Its OK for the managers to challenge, it can be a positive performance indicator, but when the masses down the foodchain challenge itis tantamount to treason.

3 Responses

  1. we didn’t manage mate… don’t you remember it being an utter shambles? thankfully all the promotions have been attained by “improving” our lot….

    no, i mean it.

    Ok… I don’t!

  2. It goes back to the early 80s when some bright spark of a Ch Inspector (I think) at Bramshill thought up Policing By Objectives. Industry had been using Management By Objectives for 20 years or so. So the Home Office thought they were on to a good thing. They could get even with Chief constables who were very independent; they could measure what the police were doing, and have an extra control over the purse strings. No-one recognised that policing is not like producing goods in a factory. You have no control over the level of demands made upon you, for a start. You do not make money that can be spent on more resources if your “production” starts to rise. One man, a non-police lecturer at Bramshill tried to point this out, but no-one wanted to hear. HMIs started asking what our objectives had been during the previous year. What were they going to be for the next year? How would we measure them? Easy, you pick objectives you know you can hit. And so we set off down the slippery slope that has left you in the mess I read about now. But do not worry. Industry gave up MBO as we started PBO. Everything in management goes around in circles. It must be time for something else to take the place of PBO.

  3. Control rooms. Once they were there to support operational Police officers. To manage and use resources effectively.
    Then they brought in Civilian Supervisors.
    They think they own the place now.
    Little school girls trying to wield the big stick.
    Never been on their own, looking at getting a kickin’.
    So they come out with “that’s sufficient units running”.
    News for them. You say that when the first unit gets there and give a favourable “sit rep”

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