The Dog Handler.
A fable for a long and cold night…………or perhaps not.
Every shift a dog handler arrives for work.
The dog handler arrives early and begins work immediately. After booking on with comms by either phone or radio, or both, or even by the new and radical computerised booking on and off system that is not simple to use, if there is a computer available, he (for the purposes he is a he) gets his van and goes out onto the streets to offer his own form of specialist support to district response teams. When he gets some spare time he also trains his dog and directs his patrol time towards local crime target areas and current crime trends he finds out from the district response briefings which he attends regularly.
The dog handler works well and supplies a good level of support. He is really happy at work. They have a good relationship this dog handler and his district response colleagues.
He reports to his sergeant, who monitors his work and ensures that he trains his dog to a high standard. The dog handler is trusted to work without close supervision because he is a reliable, dedicated and responsible officer
On day, the chief superintendent was surprised to see that the dog handler was working without close supervision. Although there is a dog sergeant, this role is not a specialist management and leadership role.
He thought that if the dog handler could produce so much by working alone, how much more could be produced if the dog handler was properly supervised. Properly supervised by someone who had been schooled in the specifics of management and leadership. Supervised by someone who has a better understanding of the modern and innovative management and leadership styles.
So he recruited a superintendent who had extensive experience as a supervisor and who was famous for writing excellent reports.
The superintendent’s first decision was to set up a computerised booking on and booking off attendance system.
He also needed a secretary to help him write and type his reports and …
… he recruited a chief inspector, who managed the administration and monitored all the information he collected by tasking others to supply him. They also recruited a support staff member who made notes and typed their long reports. They also answered the phone, took messages and appeared to generally efficient about the office.
The chief superintendent was delighted with the superintendent’s reports and asked him to produce graphs to describe demand profile rates and to analyse trends, so that he could use them for presentations at the weekly senior management team‘s meetings.
So the chief inspector had to find some money from the budget to buy a new computer and a laser printer and …
… recruited an inspector to manage the IT department.
The dog handler, who had once been so productive and relaxed, hated this new plethora of paperwork to supply for the benefit of all the others and meetings which used up most of his time explaining what he did…! This seemed to make his life far more difficult than it should be. Far too much of his time was spent sending out seemingly worthless statistical data of what he did, how he did it and why he did not do the things that the management thought he should be doing. All this for the benefit of the organisation of course.
The chief superintendent looked at all the evidence put forward by the management. He looked at the graphs, projections and recommendations presented to him after a 6 month review and came to the conclusion that it was high time to nominate a person in charge of the department where the dog handler worked.
The position was given to another inspector, whose first decision was to buy a carpet and an ergonomic chair for his office.
The new person in charge, the inspector, also needed a computer and a personal assistant, a sergeant, who he brought from his previous department, to help him prepare a Work and Budget Control Strategic Optimisation Plan …
The Department where the dog handler works is now a sad place, where nobody laughs anymore and everybody has become upset…motivation and moral are not trendy words any more.
It was at that time that the sergeant convinced the boss of the absolute necessity to start a full health and safety review, a shift pattern review, a health and safety awareness course, a diversity course, an activity monitoring scheme and put forward a business case proposal to reduce the vehicle fleet by 17%.
Having reviewed the costs for running the dog handler’s department, the chief superintendent found out that the production was much less than before.
So he recruited another chief superintendent, a prestigious and renowned outside consultant to carry out a full review and viability study to see if the dogs section was financially viable and gave value for money. They created a working party to carry out this difficult an arduous task for 3 months.
After 3 months in the department they came up with an enormous report, in several volumes, that looked glossy and covered every fact in microscopic detail. There were several nice pictures included, some of which showed a police dog and its handler.
This report concluded:
“The department is overstaffed …and was unaffordable within the current budgetary constraints.” Considerable real time savings could be made and allocated towards better things that allowed the management to supervise and closely monitor how well their staff were working and their performance could be measured in relation to the set targets. A time and motion study into performance and how the working time directives affected the statutory provisions was deferred until the next budgetary quarter as it was likely to interfere with the monthly review of the strategic diversity involvement review committee’s 2nd quarter review and assessment programme.
Guess who the chief superintendent got rid of first?
The dog handler, of course, because he “showed lack of motivation and had a negative attitude, appearing reluctant to support the management’s philosophy”.
Unfortunately there were not sufficient finances to allow for the GPS tracking for both the dog vans and the personal issue radios so these will have to wait until the Police Authority can get some money back from Icelandic banks or the Chief Superintendent can make further efficiency savings or reduce someone else’s budget to pay for them.
The characters in this fable are fictitious; any resemblance to real people or facts within any other organisation is pure coincidence…