• 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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    Brett Anderson on Another 90 minutes
    Another 90 minutes |… on T.W.I.M.C.
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    whichendbites on Try saying……..inst…
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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.

Night of the long knives……..

Within the CTCC, they have recently undergone some ‘training’ in an effort to enlighten them and bring them up to date with the currently political correct hot subjects that appear to be put in place as some form of arse covering excercise. One of these diversity type issues included innappropriate language in the workplace, known locally round our way as swearing. I have some of my own views on this but have included some advice and some alternatives that could well be deemed to be appropriate.

Having a very mix of strategic geographical areas to cover with the CTCC (City, Town & County Constabulary) the various bases have collective terms by which they ralate to each other. None of the comments are intended to be offensive or offer personal insult but are the friendly banter that has been taken and given as a small offer of humour to offset the darker things that exist. Not only is it now forbidden to engage in these so called inappropriate greetings or friendly banter but also a professional attitude at all times is the order of the day. Spontaneous outbreaks of morale by general piss-taking must stop forthwith. The ping pong of social friendly abuse between City ****ers, Town ****ers and County ****ers simply has to stop. We do not want people to be offended and get upset now do we.

And so it goes………………….

It  has been brought to management’s attention that some individuals throughout the  organisation have been using inappropriate language during the course of normal  conversation with their colleagues.

Due  to complaints received from some employees who have been offended, or some employees who might have been offended if they had been present when this type of inappropriate language may have been used, this type of  language will no longer be tolerated.

We  do, however, realise the critical importance of being able to accurately express  your feelings when communicating with colleagues.

Therefore,  a list of 13 New, strategic and Innovative “TRY SAYING” phrases have been provided so that  proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective  manner.

Try  Saying:
I think you could do with more training
Instead  Of:
You don’t have  a f***ing clue, do you?
Try  Saying:
She’s an aggressive go-getter.
Instead  Of:
She’s a  f***ing power-crazy b*tch
Try  Saying:
Perhaps I can work late
Instead  Of:
And when the  f*** do you expect me to do this?
Try  Saying:
I’m certain that isn’t feasible
Instead  Of:
F*** off , you got no chance…..
Try  Saying:
Instead  Of:
Well f*** me.
Try  Saying:
Perhaps you should check with…
Instead  Of:
Tell someone  who gives a f***.
Try  Saying:
I wasn’t involved in the project.
Instead  Of:
Not my f***ing  problem, mate.
Try  Saying:
That’s interesting.
Instead  Of:
What the  f***?
Try  Saying:
I’m not sure  this can be implemented within the given timescale.
Instead  Of:
No f***ing  chance mate.
Try  Saying:
It will be tight, but I’ll try to schedule it in
Instead  Of:
Why the f***  didn’t you tell me that yesterday?
Try  Saying:
He’s not  familiar with the issues
Instead  Of:
He’s got his  head up his f***ing a*se.
Try  Saying:
Excuse me,  sir?
Instead  Of:
Oi, s*** for brains.
Try  Saying:
Of course, I  was only going to be at home anyway
Instead  Of:
Yeah, who  needs f***ing holidays  anyway. Do you want blood as well.

Roof needed urgently.

I think I have found out why the jockeys at the Stableshire

Constabulary need a roof over their training and exercise area.

If the resultant roof prevents this type of incident it is well worth it.

Dread to think of the payout for injury on duty.

Well Sir, it was like this………..

Refer to PNB entry.

Friends in high places.

After years of continually being told that the Police have no money, every district or department budget just has to be cut, officers being given notices to leave, no replacements or recruitment and the inevitable purse strings seen to be drawn ever tighter and tighter, it is a small wonder that there are so many occasions when money (investment) appears to be no object to the chosen problem in some areas.

The choice of what cars the senior leadership should be allowed to drive around in,  the time and money spent on moving units, accommodating squads together, shared resources to make things more efficient for the leadership ideology yet more inconvenient and difficult for those who follow the latest line in decision-making from the upper ranks of the policy makers.

Everything has to be justified to fit in with the really big money-saving plan. The fiscal targets replacing other targets in an effort to reassure the public that the Police are doing their bit to save money, reduce resources, give better measurable value at the same time as doing all that they had tried to do over successive years to the tune of successive Government pressure and public expectation. Getting more, much more, for less is topical and highly driven within the plans of the budget setters planning and strategies.

And why not?

How ever, if you have a sponsor, the correct sponsor, it seems that almost anything is possible.

Every Force has had lost experienced officers to the decision-making processes of the senior leadership. Every district, department or unit has had to adapt to less money, fewer resources but ever-increasing expectation. Even when sound business cases are put forward departments, units and individuals are disappointed and feel roundly shafted as examples are discussed of what seem to them to be less than worthy cases grabbing the headlines as well as important chunks of decreasing budgets, be it for cars for select few, new and expensive offices, parking spaces, delayed fleet replacements or whatever.  To win the votes and foresight of that important sponsor to promote the chosen creation to ‘invest in’ at the total amazement of most other sensible people appears to be the trend that is beginning to come to the surface.

So when I heard about a plan from a neighbour of the CTCC to ‘invest in’ a roof to give a covered area for the jockeys of the Stableshire Constabulary, to allow them to canter around their training and exercise area without getting raindrops on their shirts in inclement weather, I was very interested. I’m sure that animal welfare must be in there somewhere.

Immediately I tried to link this budgetary ‘investment’ to somehow making our communities safer………………….No.

Perhaps it would increase their efforts to bring offenders to justice………………………………..Still No.

Perhaps a multi-agency approach to target persistent offenders…………………………………..Still No.

Perhaps an important efficiency saving to help with the budget reduction target of their own unit…………….No again.

Then I thought of how much this ‘investment was likely to cost, if it went ahead.

£80,000 or perhaps £100,000 or perhaps even more?

This is without the officer time to research, build and present a business case as well as review time from the management. Nothing these days comes cheap and everything has its price.

I wonder how they managed to project the necessary finance to allow this ‘investment’ to even get this off the ground without falling at the first hurdle?

Whilst a lot of other people are regularly turned down one has to admire the negotiating skills of whoever achieved this little bit of the budget, for a roof……………..congratulations must be in order.

The negotiating talents of the head jockey could be better utilised elsewhere if this is an indication of what can be achieved in such harsh and tight financial times.

The Dog Handler

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”.

For better or for worse.

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 ?