Progress and change are at the forefront of Policing advancement. They suggest moving forward in a positive and meaningful way. They are the bywords of those who have the power to change things, sometimes for the better. they are the words used to create an upward and positive picture at times when negativity and reluctance need clarity to focus the mind towards the bigger picture that only the gifted and visionary few can really see and understand. Change appears to be the sibling of progress and one is bereft of any worthy existence without the other. To oppose change is to deny progress and be a traitor and blind to the positive outcomes that progress and change can bring.
To the eyes of everyone ? Possibly not.
At the CTCC it appears that we are having a bit of a problem.
There simply do not appear to be enough Police Officers to go around. We appear to have run out and have no reserves to draw on.
We are failing to answer calls received at the Communications Suite that is now strategically placed at the hub of the multiverse within the Constabulary HQ. Despite the gradual reduction from a control room on each district we are down to one. Less staff collectively, more efficient computers, an alarmingly effective progression and a good sign of the progress we have made. After all the seats now don’t only swivel, they have low friction casters instead of wheels and the backrests are adjustable. Message reminders and other various levels of threats covering the host of operational jobs can be emailed to the unfortunate recipient at the simple touch of a button.
A sign of the change, therefore also progress, from several control rooms to one control suite, less staff, more efficient and effective ? No need for local knowledge in the world of technological development.
There are umpteen thousand more calls received reporting everything from a burglary in progress to the loss of our sister’s cat called Einstein. There are equally more calls that require what is now deemed to be ‘Policing Intervention’. Exactly what that means I am not quite sure. I expect it has its own strategic definition as well as its own risk assessment protocols.
Add to these ever increasing calls received at the Communications suite, answered, graded, forwarded to a separate dispatch wing of the Communications conglomerate with its own logo and catchy mission statement, you then have the devolvement of responsibility to the ‘resource’ allocated to deal with the incident requiring this Policing Intervention.
The Response part of the chain of Policing Intervention then deals with the incident that requires such intervention…………..I shall reword that. The Response part of the chain then adds the incident that requires Policing Intervention to its already long list of similar things that require Policing Intervention. As a result the regrading merry go round spins and things reorganise themselves in the shuffle to prioritise the workload.
With all the other resources deemed available, the dog handlers, traffic officers, firearms reaction teams, the big vans you are always glad to see turn up, the community beat officers, the PCSO’s and we move onto the various squads of targetting teams and tactical detection squads and one would think that there are more than enough around to deal with what is always a simple & minor incident that is always claimed can be dealt with in a few minutes.
A call allocated, another call sheet written off, only thing needed is an incident closure detail finalisation to get this one out of the way. Following the call, after the suitably timed closure details reminder message from he/she who checks such stuff, it turns out that the unit has not attended yet. What are response, or whoever was allocated this particular incident for Policing Intervention, doing that has delayed them so. After all we have targets to hit for answering calls, for allocating a resource to attend and for finalising the incident closure sheet. This is how the cut throat and devisive world of things that be measured operates.
The one big spanner in this otherwise faultless plan, is there are simply not enough Police Officers out on the ground to make this system work. We have sunken to almost an entirely Fire Brigade type of response towards Policing Intervention incidents.
There are not enough Community beat officers.
There are not enough Police Officers on the response groups.
There are not enough dog handlers, traffic officers, teams of burly and fearless officers who arrive at times of disturbance, distress or to look for things in ways that only they know about.
There will never be enough because there are no more locked away in the ranks of the back-up legions in the secret resourcing room waiting to be unleashed in case of emergency at times of Policing Intervention need.
In times of need, the need to have bods on the streets to deal with the high demand for Policing Intervention of the responce nature but where have all our Police officers gone ?
Some have swelled the layers of the firearms response teams neatly hidden amongst the ranks of the traffic departments. Their numbers look great but they have less to deal with the major road networks and their own targets.
Some have formed into various crime, tactical or strategic legions of targetting squads dedicated to hitting the places that other beers cannot reach by way of the latest crime or other antisocial and trendy concern of the community, political agenda or media.
In real terms the Police Officers working what , for years, have been our core shift pattern, and providing the 24/7 response have fallen to a staggeringly low level.
The numbers of specialist support officers who perform the basic levels of specialist support to these 24/7 officers have had additional workloads placed on them because of the need to prove they are worthwhile, effective and efficient. This takes then further away from their core purpose of supplying a specialist support role to the 24/7 operation response officers.
The modern, business led, tactical and strategic phraseology dresses up business related protocols and evaluations to try to somehow justify the cost of the service we provide. The insistence on following the business and market trends to somehow provide a balance sheet of effectiveness that is understandable in the free trade or business environment but holds little sway with genuine and service provision.
Service is viewed through the balance sheet and the focus of the provision is lost on people who control what is provided under a cloak of corporate accountability and effective management of their business case strategies.
If a shop keeps selling out of baked beans the answer is to get in more baked beans to keep the punters happy. This is all about supply to your demand. A business scenario based on the need to make profit.
The Police are not a business. The Police are service providers. The Police Officers who work on the streets, in all their guises and specialisations, provide that service.
At the CTCC it would come as no surprise if we will be billing for specialist support soon. The Specialist Dog Support units will be billing our customers for our kind of specialist support. Our customers will not the public, or the victim. They will be the district of whatever geographical area might consider it necessary to call a dog handler to attend an incident that requires Police Intervention that has a business case for the need of canine support.
I can picture the scene……………………….Officer A, from Area K attends a domestic intrusion with accompanying theft of property marker. Officer A carries out an initial scene evaluation in accordance with the relevant tactical instruction policy. Officer A relays this information to a supervisor who further evaluates this to see if the criteria fall within the necessary band of specialist strategic support. Supervisor is able to produce initial evidence of a suitable business case for a request of a dog support team to attend. Communications are informed and given the appropriate coding to call for dog support.
Dog support is requested and arrival time estimated at 1.35 hours because of centralisation and travelling time. Dog support arrives, offers relevant specialist support and leaves without location of suspect although property possibly linked to domestic intrusion has been located and seized for possible Scenes of Crime Officer examination, subject to a likely business case accepted and approved for this to take place.
District K will be invoiced for Dog Support attendance, including travelling. District K will also face likely costs for Scenes of crimes examination costs.
Should offender be traced/charged/convicted then costs recovery arm of asset recovery unit will try to reclaim costs as part of compensation package. A form of debt recovery.
The future is bright…….the future is business…………and that is progress. That is the only thing that some people can understand. That will never change. Thats progress.
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