• 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.

Progress and change.

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.

5 Responses

  1. Well said WEB . If they want to run the Police as a business then they should remember that the most important person the the business is the customer.

  2. A top notch post WEB – I agreed with pretty much everything you wrote in it.

    So… what to do? When you’re Chief Constable, what are you going to do?

  3. It’s the damn management consultants. Anything they see, they see as a business. Internal accounting and cost allocation across divisions (business divisions, not police divisions). Corporate strategy 101 from Alfred Chandler.
    There are some positives about the business analogy, but any time the tail begins to wag the dog, you know that you have a problem. The main problem is that end user (response team or police service) “sales” or “profits” are totally nebulous. (arrests made? property recovered? crime prevented? Customer satisfaction? The problem is that no target can really encompass everything, so no definition is rationally applicable.) SO HOW IN GOD’S NAME do they “justify” buying specialist support?
    The one thing you can guarantee is that the present system of having loads of people engaged in “managing” the issue is wasted time. But the management consultants (and the morons that take their advice) feel happier since there is now an audit trail and an internal accounting system, that shows that a particular response unit has called for a dog unit 20 times in a month. “But what does that get you!?” SFA.

    I’d settle for a few rough measures of police effectiveness – number (+weighting for experience) police doing frontline duties / total number of staff in police service. Just as a first rough estimate. Then examine number of crimes and the detection rate. Leave most everything else to the management.

  4. 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.

  5. Whenever this approach is applied to a business, after a few days some bright spack with a calculator and a good head for maths will spend an hour or two and prove that the cross-charging is more expensive to administer than the savings it offers the business.

    Then the vast numbers of beancounters employed to administer the cross charging system then swoop, and the bright spark is often never heard from again… there’s a detection in there somewhere!

    This rarely works in a business with fixed demands and a simple business model (e.g. cheaply buy lots of beans in bulk then sell them individually for a profit), God alone knows how many lawyers, consultants and beancounters you’d get foisted upon you to implement and manage a system in something as complex as a police force which provides a service rather than a product.

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