It is not often that I applaud the comments of our Chief Officer group. For them it appears that the standard practice is to roll out the prepared positive statements that promote the brand but, at the same time do little or nothing to support the frontline officers who earn their crusts on the streets.
All too often I have heard the politicised statements that sound explicit and promising but are little more than prepared, worthless soundbytes in relation to the subject they are put in place to discredit or give a picture that all is well and positive.
Take this statement:
“Public confidence in the criminal justice system has increased significantly in recent years and we are working hard to bring more offenders to justice and to improve services to victims and witnesses. Since 1997 the government has increased prison capacity by over 23,000 places. Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the courts.”
I translated through the prepared and agreed jargon to be something completely different.
Public confidence (good phrase) increased significantly (positive phrase) working hard (effort , positive dedication and determination to get the job done) bring offenders to justice (mission statement related) improve services to victims and witnesses ( shows how we care for important community groups) over 23,000 ( a high statistic is always good) Sentencing is a matter for the courts (the cop out statement. It is all somehow someone else’s fault, NB. do not mention sentencing guideline)
The unexpurgated was a statement from a Ministry of Justice spokesperson apparently in response to the views of Mike Fuller, chief constable of Kent Police. His views were reported in an article in the Guardian newspaper. Like many other prepared statements it fails to acknowledge that anything is likely to be wrong and does not address the real problem(s) raised.
C.C. Fuller believes that dangerous criminals are avoiding jail or being released early because of a lack of places in the country’s prisons. He claims the crisis was entirely foreseeable: five years ago, ministers ordered police to bring more offenders to justice, but failed to think through the consequences.
He also said forces are over-inspected, with hours of his time each week wasted answering to 13 official national bodies, which sometimes gave contradictory advice and uncosted recommendations. C.C.Fuller was critical at the government’s attempts to ensure the police are up to scratch. He said up to 13 bodies had the right to inspect his force: “There’s always somebody inspecting us, or we’re under the threat of inspection. It is a constant inspection process. Probably at least a third of my time is spent dealing with inspection, inspection processes, preparing for inspection, accounting to inspection bodies.” He said some inspection bodies made contradictory recommendations: “It actually takes us away from our core role. There’s been too many targets… We’ve been over-inspected by too many agencies who often don’t cost their recommendations, who often don’t talk to each other or share information…”
When you get an officer from the Chief Officer group prepared to stick his head above the safety of the parapet to openly say what all frontline officers have been saying for years you only hope that someone, somewhere will take a little bit of notice of what this man is saying.
He will either be lauded for his comments and raised his personal profile and reputation or has limited his career to the shackles imposed by his peers because he dared to speak out against the all controlling monster that wishes to promote the brand at all costs.
I dare say that the targets will continue, the duplication of endless statistics will continue to justify someone Else’s position in the name of accountability and the measuring of things that it is essential to measure for someone to justify their position in the matter of accounting how they manage or delegate.
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