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.
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