Life within the CTCC seems to get only more confusing for those who operate on the specialist support department. The marriage between the officer and his or her chosen specialism has truly become for better or for worse.
Dog handlers are constantly told that they are Police officers first and foremost and the chosen specialist support skills appear to take a back seat to other ongoing and more deserving cases the leadership team dream up. I’m not quite sure what the dogs think about that one. Whereas we all normally earned our chosen role after many years of applications and proving our worth, many years of gaining experience and credibility of our chosen area of expertise, this appears to hold for squat as we are given designated taskings and not trusted to be able to sort out what we need to do. The endless round of meetings, the off-load delegation, the corporate jargon all a smoke screen that cloaks the decision makers under misplaced responsibility. After all, they have some really difficult decisions to make. As if the every day officer doesn’t make these day in and day out.
We now appear to exist within what is now one large happy department with a single-minded focus and purpose. We are encouraged to spend more time out on the streets. Still the ever broadening micro-managing systems that allow one person behind a computer terminal to assess who is the current favourite and who is lazy or incompetent judged on what information is input from behind another computer continue unabated, funnily enough.
The extra time behind the computer, if you can find one not occupied or out of commission, removes handlers from their chosen vocation for even more time than before. With the new technology they need not come back into the station…………..at all…………..not even for a refs break…………..not even for a sh…………………must ensure to take out some paperwork in case.
Handlers are supposed to be reducing their bureaucratic burden because targets are deemed to be out of fashion and create the wrong image. At the same time they have the business scorecard matrix to complete to show how they are using their duty time to patrol all the areas the leadership think are strategic and important………………. Business Scorecard Matrix ?????? Reducing bureaucray………..in your wildest dreams.
It is now not deemed acceptable for a dog handler to work out where to spend most of his/her time patrolling and supporting his / her district or area of patrol as the norm until requests for the dog specialist support come in from around the neighbouring areas. District cover ?? blasphemous thoughts. We are A Constabulary wide resource to be directed by the specialist support departments best intelligence boffins to target our patrols to support the objectives of the specialist support departments really big plan. If our top person had a drinks cabinet it would, no doubt, be moving slowly but surely several feet closer to a pre-identified target (in a totally strategic way you understand).
At a recent regional bit of a chit-chat it seems that the axe will be swung and the losers will not only be the number of specialists available, but also the close relationship that has been enjoyed and taken for granted between dogs and district response. Regional response could well be the answer of the day.
It seems that district specialist support response is a thing of the past.
It seems that by telling the specialist support what the leadership thinks it should be doing is somehow better.
It seems that using more and more time to access a computer to input statistical information, sometimes duplicating already known info, business scorecard matrix and the leadership directorate batphone to ring at the end of every shift to advise on what you have done or, more importantly, why you have not been able to support the most recent dictat has collectively reduce the effectiveness and broken the bond between specialist dog support and our most important customers, district response and the beat teams. District response are no longer our premier and most important customers. With the potential changes we will be out of shift sync, out of touch and out of favour. Out of shift alignment is on the horizon which will further remove our close ties. All the better in this pre-planned, intelligence led, everyone on one radio channel, micro managed world. Until a spontaneous job from the real world comes in to bugger up everyone’s plans.
This is such a really big shame because this spontaneous district response world is where most of the good jobs come from, along with the recognition that goes hand in hand and the hope that District response will consider handlers the next time.
The leadership now seem intent on assuming that all specialists are either lazy or incompetent and want to micro-manage every single deployment or duty to ensure that they have their fingers on the pulse. The new style of leadership takes ever more time and personnel away from where they really should be. Out on the streets for as long as they possibly can. The trend seems to be to create another entity which justifies its existence by what the management can show as a measured product instead of specific specialist support to the response and beat teams.
The legions of desk dwellers push out the latest offerings and expect that, with the backing of the leadership team, this new power and status will have the bottom dwellers in total subservient abeyance. All that is missing is the small models of the various resources being moved around a large map of the CTCC area by people with long sticks at the ready. At the same time we are expected to give ever more for ever less. To commit ever more committment for ever less support. The bright and shiny positive outlook within the minds of the leadership fail to take into account that the ones who do the bidding on their behalf also have many things that compete for time.
There is simply never enough time. Something has to give and the objectives of the leadership seem to always take priority over the objectives most set for themselves.
The CTCC even have a new policy making system by way of our new director of finance. How this role ever has an idea of what Policing is about is beyond me but it seems to wield an awful lot of power. So much so that the equivalent rank of comparison is somewhere near ACC level, with the accompanying parking place as well. The first new and radical move is to outlaw the work ‘efficiency’ as it smacks of saving money. How quaint. In its place comes the word ‘streamlining’. This, apparently give a better illusion that everything is somehow more …………efficient, funnily enough. The subtle change towards value for money doesn’t appear to have everyone fooled. After reading this a few more pieces of the understanding puzzle fall neatly into place.
To try to get to where they are going, primarily by slashing budgets to become more financially efficient, they are still expected to deliver more and more performance. Despite having no product to sell, they have to find ever-increasing ways of measuring different things to give the counters something to count and then compare the business end of the statistics with the service delivered. The two simply do not tie up as they are so fundamentally different. It appears that finding ever more things to measure is the nearest they can get to change ‘service’ into a tangible product. The mission of the leadership team is to save money to hit their target of a budget reduction of £654,453-49p. At the same time they will produce career enhancing evidence of how much more efficient they have made everyone, by streamlining what they do, presumably. A business consultancy company could be paid a small fortune to produce a business plan to identify cost savings in an area for which they have little or no specialist knowledge apart from what the leadership tell them. They could work from statistics given on a service to business translation to identify areas where the business plan needs to be tinkered with to produce short-term savings that hit the mission objectives that are set. No investment for the future just a series of short-term cuts that will be made permanent because they will be made to show they have had no real negative effect on those who deliver the service. Those at the bottom of the food chain will do their best to make it work with what they have because that is what they have always done. The leadership will take all the credit for effective management and not give a toss about how much more difficult they make it for those who do their bidding.
I have this recurring nightmare of how stubborn and highly wrapped up in their bigger picture the leadership of the CTCC appear to be. Also how they fail to recognise that many of us have been doing the things they want without the need to be told to do it.
SLT: When you are not answering calls I want you patrolling the Britannia Estate because we have told the District Management meeting that we will deploy dog support to help them with their evening youth disorder and nuisance problems. I need you to justify to me why you are not doing this in your non-committed time. You have a mileage limit of 25 miles per shift.
WEB: I already know this and am already doing this. I have very little non-committed time, as you put it. When I am not committed, I liaise with District and most evenings when I get a chance I offer support by way of high vis patrols both on foot and mobile. I have been doing this for many years. No one has had to tell me this in the past. I am able to manage my time effectively and have been trusted to do so in the past. How can I determine how many miles I have to drive a shift? Surely this is controlled by the demands for my specialist support.
SLT: You do not understand the bigger picture. This is a new support initiative. We have had a tactical and strategic tasking meeting and we have decided that your efforts will be best targeted to the town side of the Britannia Estate. This will support the departments own really big plan to make our communities a safer place, reduce the fear of crime and to bring offenders to justice. Our department analysts have shown us that statistics for the last strategic review period show an increase in youth disorder and anti-social behaviour most evenings but particularly increasing on Friday and Saturday evenings. This is the most recent and latest update we have and it is your duty to carry out our instructions. By showing how effective we have made you, your productivity will be seen to have increased because you have been effectively managed by the leadership team. The resulting career enhancing evidence will help ensure progression for the leadership. You should be supporting the objectives of the department. One of those is to reduce fuel costs by 19.55% in the next budgetary period. Also, we have a small piece of new technology for you. Now you can stay out all shift and we will tell you where we want you. We have a GP chip in it so we know where you are and you can respond and be more efficient as you could be the closest resource.
WEB. This information is at least 3 weeks old and I got it from the District crime analyst at one of the late shift briefings I went to. The problem has been moved from the town side of the Britannia Estate to the hillside section into the Coronation Estate because of the extra patrolling. The mileage will vary depending on my calls. I may have some things I need to do, to train my dog for example. Why do I need another piece of kit to carry around. Anyway, you have told me you have no money.
SLT. Just stick to what we are telling you to do. We are the leadership and clearly better than you, we know what we are talking about. We are right and you are wrong. Our analysts have all the latest information. You are clearly not supporting the really big plan. Also forget about this response thing, it is outdated and out of fashion. You are available to cover the whole of the CTCC area and not your ‘district’ as you did before. You have new technology, we know what is best for you.
WEB. Your directorate analysts get their information from the crime analysts on the district that covers the Britannia Estate. Their analysts also work weekends, yours have the weekend off. Even the intel units get their intel from district so we should disband some of these units to help increase the visible uniform presence to help reassure the public that we are out there making the streets safer. I will drive however many miles I need to in order to support response. It is better to forge a closer working relationship with the response teams where I normally work. If there are other demands around the Constabulary I can respond to these when necessary. I do not need any other gadgets. How can the job afford these new things.
SLT. You are being uncooperative and are resistant to change. You should trust us to manage and lead, you only have to do as you are told. We are making you more efficient by making things easier for you. You do not have to think for yourself, you simply have to do as we say. The people who gather and disseminate the intel are vital for us to get the most up to date information out to you so you can target your efforts effectively and in accordance with the really big plan. Forget support to your district. That is an outdated practice. You should rely on the leadership to tell you where you need to patrol to support the objectives identified as part of our objectives to ensure you meet your objectives to make our communities safer and to bring offenders to justice. We have also given you Public Service Sector Alliance Partnership to support you and reduce your administrative burden.
For better and for worse ?
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