Tuesday, 25 May 2010

I was only following orders.......

I'vre read a few articles of late regarding the first wave of `slash and burn` from our new Government in respect of, amongst other things, the public sector. Of particular relevance to my previous life, is Steve, The Analyst's series on bonus payments for ACPO ranks and Insp Gadget's post today, about where the cuts may strike in his force of `ruralshire` and others across the land. I have little to add to these posts other than to acknowledge them here and commend them to others who may not ordinarily go there for a read.

All I feel I can add to these two good pieces at the moment, is my own immediate reaction to one small area, that was sparked by bullet point 4 of Gadget's post;   "The number of sick, lame and lazy officers and staff employed on the Crime Management Team, where the job could be done by one Sergeant, better computer processing and a shortened system. Nowhere for them to go". I responded to this by leaving a comment amongst the countless others he always gets, mostly from those very much affected by the debate he inititates. I will repeat it here as my closing two paragraphs from my ten pence worth contribution to what, ultimately, will be impacting heavily on police forces across the land.

When I know of dedicated officers who have paid heavily for their years of servce through injury or deteriorating health that is aggravated by their work and then hear of those disgraceful senior management `bonus schemes` that were ladled out by the previous administration, how they were lapped up without complaint and now hear the complaints that they didn't want them in the first place....it makes me want to read Steve's piece all over again, because it just doesn't seem real - although I know it is. I know where I'd want the bonus money to have gone. I am so glad I am no longer a part of that. I liked to be able to look my front line officers in the eye, as I encouraged them to do to me.

My brother in law is occasionally sick, but by no means lame or lazy. His condition hits him hard when it comes but before that happens he is probably one of the fittest officers in his force. He has 27 years front line service and in my era would by now have had his condition recognised as deserving of a well earned medical pension – but there’s another `target` to reduce these. As a young Met Pc trainee, on a tour of New Scotland Yard, I was amazed to see Information Room’s `walking wounded`, officers with missing eyes, cracked backs and other serious ailments that made them less able to perform street duties. yet in there they were kings of the airwaves and the best lifeline you could wish for when it was you out on the streets needing support and guidance.

We looked after our less physically able in those days. I would rather have any one of these officers watching my back, anytime, anywhere, in any frontline- supporting department, rather than the entire plethora of nebulous numpties that have infiltrated the nebulous numpty departments laughingly classified as `support`. So bring on the surgery as you must, wield the bloody knife, but please.... cut the crap.


Crime Analyst said...


Excellent piece and thanks for the honourable mention in despatches!

The weeks of preparing the full report have really opened my eyes to the extent of the profligacy and waste some of these so called senior officers are responsible for. One word sums it up GREED! No matter how much they squirm and wriggle now, the truth is known by those that count, the guys at the front line.

I totally agree with your thoughts about the dedicated and experienced officers the job should be looking after who have had the misfortune to suffer injury or ill health. Their own sense of self worth would be maintained providing invaluable support to those guys at the sharp end, and lets face it, after years of dedicated commitment, it's the very least the job owes them.

Unfortunately, many of the present management team have had any sense of compassion and operational common sense surgically removed and replaced with a heartless, selfish attitude that serves only themselves.

The sooner someone gets to grips with the reality that policing doesn't have to be about ticking boxes, screwing the system for all its worth and stuffing anyone who objects to petty schemes and barmy projects, the sooner we might hope to restore common sense, confidence and loyalty to the job.

Having been outside for a few years now, it seems that the greed factor has done as much to damage public and grass roots confidence as anything else that is rotton in our perverted Criminal Justice System.

The full report "Too Many Chiefs" was uploaded to our pages this morning... already getting loads of reaction!

Stressed Out Cop said...

They can have my SPP which is a divisive bonus payment towards the massive debt as long as they cut elsewhere too.

Value for money is the new religion - music to the ears of a time and motion freak.

Hogday said...

Steve; Every time I say to myself that I'm done with reading about the police and CJ system, along comes a report like yours. As glad as I was to beat the 30 year clock and leave in basically one psychological piece, work like yours comes along to remind me that I really do still care. I always wanted to believe that one day all this would be exposed. Perhaps it really has started?

Stressedout; That's the spirit! Although I'd have gladly seen bonuses given where truly earned. See last nights Panorama about Oz Schmid as a shining, humbling example eh?
And keep in touch (especially with yourself;)

sparkflash said...

I think that sort of considerate pragmatism is one of the first things to go when someone, somewheres bonus is riding on cost savings - be it public or private sector.
Warehousing in my teens for one of the big supermarket chains, before, during and after, paid my way through university.
I was at first surprised at the numbers of coffin dodgers, sitting around the loading docks doing little but offer the occasional pointer, whilst I loaded and unloaded trucks.
It really boiled my piss, until I thought it through and realised that they were all near retirement age, had put in a good 40 years plus each and were now just too old and broken down by hard graft to do it anymore.
It actually cheered me to see that company loyalty was still a two way thing and that they'd been put somewhere easy for the last few years - they weren't needed, but the company hadn't found some excuse to offload them and save some money and was, instead, rewarding their past labours.
That's probably the last we'll see of that mentality. Which is a shame.

Anonymous said...

As usual Hog, you hit on something wider than the police context. I'm probably more or less in one piece because experienced officers were in the control room.
When it comes to the bonus come filthy rich stuff I'm just left aghast. I'm totally demoralised by people who extol the filth. My old prof. got a few grand more than me as a senior lecturer - now the scale is obscene. At the same time,I'm expected to ask academics to do extra work for nothing or book tokens, whilst some idle sods get away with a 2 day week.
The response to the teacher who lashed out and hurt some hooligan is typical.
It'snot just greed, though Steve is no doubt mostly right. The people taking these bags of silver have superiority complexes and build squads of arselickers around themselves.

Crime Analyst said...


Looks like we've caused a stir with the Too Many Cops report!

The site analytics have gone beserk! Busiest hit day ever with average visit length up to 45 minutes.

Looks like you're not the only one with passionate views about the topic Hoggie.

Let’s hope it does some good eh?

All the best


Hogday said...

SPARKS`: I get your drift and providing someone can deliver some usable goods I always felt it was the responsibility of managers to place them where their talents could still be of real benefit. But in the Oldus Billius I could never stand a uniform carrier. Your tale reminded me of an old joke my Dad came home with once. `The Liverpool Dockers Union had arranged for an ariel photo to be taken of the docks, to be framed as a long service gift. When it was delivered they had to send the plane back up to have it re-taken because somebody had moved.
PS. I've grafted for a big supermarket since retiring - they work their slaves pretty hard out back, too. Kept me fit tho`.

Analyst: I hope it causes a stir! As for `too many wastes of space`, in my Tactical Firearms Unit I used to tell the newbies that there was always a place for them, even if we had to just use them as cover.

Allcopped: For sure, a good control room operator makes you feel like you've got extra bods on the ground with you. As for throwing silver pieces on the ground to make the c8nts dance, that would bring out the Che in me.

Blue Eyes said...

A good set of managers will manage to cut the crap without damaging the provision of a good service. In fact cutting the crap could actually improve the service while also saving money.

My formula: shred the bureaucracy and slash civilian support numbers while simultaneously pushing back-office officers onto the street. If they don't want to go back to the street then allow them to resign with dignity.

Then abolish most of the specialist teams and have a larger pool of "response" officers. Large enough that there is spare capacity for some to be proactive from time to time.

Re-engage Peels Principles.

I don't think the current breed have it in them.

Hogday for Commissioner!

Hogday said...

Too kind Blue, but I'm already about to give my current employers the sack and move on to another - for LESS money! - they don't know yet, keep it to yourself ;)

Anonymous said...

I have, for my sins, done a few organisational restructures. Quasi academic stuff like TOM, BPR and so on is useless and fails more often than it succeeds. They are patent medicines, OK if not much is wrong with you.
Good organisations change because they respond to reality, rather than make up what this is. Cops like to think of themselves as feet on the ground people (Gadget's blog is full of this), but this isn't the case in my experience as a cop or manager-academic since. Most cops live in a kind of denial, and some operate from the paranoid-schizoid position (these terms are fairly specialist and I'm not calling cops 'nutters'). Bullying SMT-types and the idiot targets IG exposes well lead to this condition, along with exposure to a lot of bad people. The real 'therapy' for this is to structure freedom for cops to do the job they want to do and expected of them.

I'm so angry this hasn't been attempted that I'd hang some Nulabour toadies to remind us this isn't a political issue,then start on radical change. I fancy this would start amongst judges,lawyers and other professionals who are overpaid and often useless. The key issue is to remove restrictive practices by opening up the jobs to outside competition and qualification and to produce a really impartial legal system, fit for purpose. Cops need to accept they are often paid too much (or pathetically little) for what they actually do, but the real key here is to be fair and make sure professional privilege is also taken down.
In anything like this, we need to try to design in jobs for the disabled and try to make sure the scut-work is shared.
None of this will happen - as IG has pointed out in his blog the bigwigs will hire consultants to protect their vital interests.

sparkflash said...

Hogday, I'd say that sounds more like reality than a joke.

A friend of mine used to drive trucks and in the late 70's and earky 80's, if you managed to get your truck loaded/unloaded inside two days, you were doing well.
The dockers would show up, draw straws and over half would then go home - on full pay - whilst the remainder would conspire to get as little done as possible for the next hour, 'til a minivan showed up to drive them over to the canteen for breakfast. Two hours later they would return and see how little they could do for the next couple of hours, before lunch..
This wasn't a few old men put out of the way on light duty, 'til retirement, this was the whole workforce!
I often laugh when I hear about how "Maggie broke the unions" - the unions did too good a job of breaking themselves for her to need to try.

And on another note, this is the kind of news story I'd like to read - something a little more positive.


Anonymous said...

Amongst other chequered career has been stuff Sparks I was once a manager in shipyards. Union-management relations often lapsed to madness, but I wouldn't credit one side with a majority! Unions ain't the answer, but some of my colleagues needed restraint. In one incident, eight guys died after poisonous paint was re-labelled in our H & S department and re-sold into use in the company. The answers ain't easy, but unfettered management power in China leads to statements like ten suicides by people jumping from the company barracks' roof as 'within expected limits'.

Hogday said...

Sparks/Allcopped: "Good News, Not Many Dead"