• What You Measure is What You Get.

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  • 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.
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    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.
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    “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
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Ronnie’s Review

Sir Ronnie Flanigan’s report concerning the future of Policing in the UK has been covered by several well known and well respected Police bloggers including Insp Gadget and Stan Still  amongst others.

Although I had not posted I have commented on the Gadget blog and have reproduced my comment below.

It seems clear to me that the words that have taken so long to come forth are nothing more than preparation for even further financial cuts in funding for the Policing Service provision to communities all over the UK. These cuts in funding will be re-branded to appear to be somehow better, more efficient, to provide a better service, to deal with all sorts of new and important issues and dressed up as some form of essential investment in making our communities feel safer by putting more Police Officers onto the streets where they are so desperately needed.

All this does not include the latest crackdown on this and that. Exactly where the bodies are going to come from to deal with all these crackdowns is a total loss to me, as well as deal with the everyday 24/7 response type of things that will continue to be there and fall outside of the crackdown remit.

Policing has changed because it has been changed by those who see change as an integral part of being seen to improve things without understanding the bigger picture. Often short term changes are made for short term gains to appease or appeal without the full awareness of the full implications of the decisions. Almost all of these, sometimes radical decisions, are made with financial savings the main driving factor and clouded under the cloak of deception based on efficiency and cost effectiveness. A service provider is treated along the lines of a non-profitable business. Decisions based on the never ending search for things to measure accompanied by building business cases to justify the implimentation of the idea is of paramount importance. Any short term benefits are often outweighed by other implications that are not fully considered or ignored resulting in the financial costs often increasing well above the early estimates. This is a factor conveniently forgotton in this bigger picture and hidden against opposition or scrutiny by those who deal with the application end of these decisions by claims of lack of ability, lack of support or the old chestnut of being resistant to change. In the real world very few are resistant to change if they understand there is some benefit in any proposed change and not because itis the latest brainchild of the SMT, divisional/departmental commander or politically trendy target.

Anyway, back to Ronnie’s review of the way forward and the comment.

What he is talking about is a glorified Force wide charging unit. This is not new and will be coming in via the back door. It happens on certain major events, football duty and large pre-planned stuff.The Police officers attend the call or is called to a scene where an arrest needs to be made or deal with the arrest(s) if necessary. After transport to custody and justifying the arrest to custody officer a statement of evidence and/or note book is completed whilst other Police staff deal with getting witness details, losers/aggrieved person statements and any other statements needed at the time, preserving scenes, obtaining evidence left at scene, requests for CSI and property disposal/seizure etc etc. The custody based team of Police staff then take over to process the detainee, fingerprint, photograph, take DNA, and complete relevant admin/records.The trained interview team liaise with handover information completed by Police staff, including witness/loser statements and if necessary can speak to witnesses depending on time constraints. After this interview team begin interview(s) of suspect and follow up with liaison with Police staff file assembly officers.The Police Staff will not be recruited from retiring or retired officers who have a wealth of experience and the relevant abilities to do the parts of the job needed within the full mechanism of what is needed. They will be recruited from people who will have to be trained to do the component parts and will tick relevant boxes selected by people who do not understand the component parts of the processes involved. This will open and transparent and will get people who are not really suited for the role into a post they do not understand and will take an age to learn how to do poorly and then after some time adequately.Just think of how CID has been decimated in recent times and the loss of people with excellent interview techniques, excellent prosecution file assembly skills, excellent skills when speaking to witnesses and obtaining detailed and accurate statements that reflect what has been seen. This is a loss and a waste of a great resource that has the necessary training already and the experience level to take this in their stride.The right system would allow the good body takers more time on the streets where they are best suited and needed without the countless hours bogged down under the administrative legal processes. They would be required to complete note book and/or statement and then back out onto the streets again, unless there is a pressing continuity problem eg. serious offence,The remainder of the machine does the job for which it-is intended:Prisoner handling and processing.
Offence investigation, evidence handling & property retention.
Witness/loser statement taking.
Prisoner interviewing.
Charging decision & relevant matters, bail, ID procedures etc etc.
Quite often one person does all this and he/she can say goodbye to a whole shift most of the time, even with enquiries left to following shift and other statements to take.
Arresting officer then is back out on the streets after note book completion.
Sadly we have moved away from the most important asset we have being the operational constable on the street. Every other department were there to support these officers. Most have now been removed and replaced with uniform response because beat officers on foot are deemed a waste of resources. After all, why leave an officer on foot, in the community, the same community, for each hour of their shift, walking around when the same officer can be put in a car, cover umpteen more square miles of area and answer more calls because of this mobility ? Simple answer and it must be better, so say the number crunchers and statisticians who see a failing brand.The real problem is that it removes Police Officers from the community and also takes away the time they would interact with the community on a one to one basis during their shift. This is all about time and the perception of time from people who cannot find ways to measure what a community beat officer does during their shift. It cannot be measured accurately so it must be bad because there is no way of measuring anything that is perceived to be good. The conversations with members of the public, the intelligence gained, the crimes investigated in an area, the bond that is made over time with some areas of the community cannot be measured in real and beneficial ways by someone who doesn’t understand the basic principles of Policing in the community. Uniformed Police Officers should be at the hub of what we do. Everything else is there to support this. Ask yourself this question. Why there has been such a decline in career beat officers ?Those who have spent their entire careers or almost all of their careers as beat officers, on the same beat, in the same community. The ones where a CID officer or an officer investigating a spate of crimes would visit this officer as a first port of call because they were almost certain to come up with a name or have put a name into the intelligence system. We have lost this because it is deemed wasteful and inefficient to have this type of officer in the service. The accountants cannot measure what he or she has done so its time for goodbye.Every crime that is reported, no matter how serious, a uniformed Police officer attends in the first instance. From there he or she decides the next step in the process of investigation. This may be delegated to a supervisor but it-is uniform who are the first line. The learning of this type of experience is not learnt after 1 year, 2 years or even 3 years. It-is continual over the length of service. It-is vital to learn what to do and what not to do, even at very minor crimes. Too many officers come into the job and either leave to go to a perceived more popular group or department, leave the job altogether or seek positions away from what we should be doing far too early in their careers to have learnt and understood the wide appreciation and experience of how we do this thing called Policing. Policing has changed because of the political interference and constant financial measuring of ever changing performance targets. The skill of Policing has not really changed that much. It does not benefit from such constant changes. We have become reactive and response led because we have lost our finger on the pulse of the community.Everyone wants to change things when their chance comes. To make brave statements of intent, to show they know what they are talking about and to be seen to make it different and perhaps a little better, but for who exactly ?I must go and find a darkened room now. The thought of all these different teams, all these different empires being built, all these different targets that will come into place, all these different areas of competition that will be in competition to see who is doing best and it-is clear that this utopia of a well oiled machine working in unison is a work of fiction or a deranged mind.

Click………………darkness at last.


7 Responses

  1. Best comment on this subject I have seen yet. Love the end bit!

  2. What an excellent article and comment!

  3. TOTALLY off post. Dont publish if dont want to, but I posted on your 90 mins pos a while ago.
    Just wanted you to know WEB, the parents have done it…………….Landshark failure ‘Ben’ arrives tomorrow.
    They finally felt up to getting another dog. May be because I made them read your 90 mins post last week. Who knows?. Ta!

  4. Benj……..hope that ‘Ben’ works out well for them.
    Nice to know the 90 minutes inspired them, it still does me.

  5. […] the guns and the remainder of those who are deemed to be financially unsustainable, according to Sir Ronnie Flanagan, to become the National squads based locally in a revamped Force reorganisation of serious crime […]

  6. […] Darkness at last. Posted on March 6, 2010 by whichendbites About 2 years ago I responded to something on the Gadget blog in relation to the Flannigan report. .   Many bloggers said their piece, but even now we are still awaiting the full consequences of Ronnie’s review.  […]

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