Wednesday 25 March 2015

Special Pleading Election Deluge - Police Neutrality

No readers will be surprised to here that as my email addy is freely accessible I get a fair few green ink emails and also plenty of media PR emails on a daily basis. It an easy move to the delete box for the vast majority.
Of late though the bombardment is reaching a crescendo, what is noticeable is that they are all of a left-wing bent, with a variety of special pleading causes and outrageous claims about the Government, which of course is Tories because the magic word is cuts. Let's take today's example from the Police Federation - my highlights where it made me raise and eyebrow:
We are now just six weeks away from the General Election. As an apolitical staff association representing 124,000 police officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector across the 43 forces in England and Wales, we are writing to all Members of Parliament.... to ensure the public get the police service they want and deserve.
But we have a duty, on behalf of those officers we represent and the public we serve, to raise our grave concern that the quality of service we are able to provide to the public is already under immense strain. We have a genuine fear that any future cuts to the police budget, or further loss of police officers, will have such a detrimental impact that the British police service, will be irreparably damaged and changed forever.
Importantly though, so too will our ability to protect and serve all our communities effectively....
The demands on policing continue to increase, as we tackle new crimes, while still trying to deal with traditional crime in the face of dwindling budgets and resources. In recent years we have seen an increase in cyber-crime, a rise in the number of reported cases of sexual offences and child protection issues. These horrific and often hidden crimes require sufficient time and resources to tackle properly. We also face a new style of international terrorism which is hugely resource intensive to monitor and police effectively to prevent attacks and keep the British public safe. In addition to dealing with crime, increasingly police officers are also providing active support to safeguard vulnerable members of society, including those who are young and old.
In the last four years the police service has lost nearly 17,000 police officers and approximately 22,000 police support staff, resulting in police officers having to backfill some of these roles. The number of police officers per head of population is lower than at any time in the last 20 years, while other European nations have increased their numbers.....
Several chief constables are now talking openly about the threat to visible neighbourhood policing teams as they juggle the emergency response demands against a limited budget and fewer police officers.....
To help you gain a better understanding of how the changes are impacting across all forces, last week we launched our 'Cuts Have Consequences' microsite....
This supports the admirable work being undertaken at a local level to highlight how budget cuts have impacted on policing. This is about bringing to your attention the very real unintended consequences of cuts to the police service. The unintended consequence to our resilience to be able to deal with the large scale disorder we saw in towns and cities only a few years ago as police numbers fall. The unintended consequence of not being able to deal with minor crimes as resources are diverted to deal with emergency response calls. The unintended consequence of neighbourhood policing teams being cut back as forces are compelled to channel limited resources to priority areas....
The apolitical nature of the call is no such thing, when the term 'cuts have consequences' is so clearly aimed at the Conservative party. Plus Senior Police officers are now apparently speaking out freely on this issue - during an election campaign. So much for neutrality.
Even better is the unintended consequences section - where fantasy scenarios are created and alleged to be unsolvable. I love the whole minor crimes piece, as if we don't know the Police have long given up on this sort of crime - if they ever did take it seriously which i cannot ever recall in my lifetime.
They did not send the email in green ink, but I thought it more appropriate to its content. Of course what I read is that there have been continuous falls in crime over the last 5 years and that huge savings have been made whilst overall crime has continued to fall significantly. Furthermore a big drain on the Police is politically inspired investigations to crimes that took place before I was born and are hard to prove at best or investigations against the media which again in many cases have proved groundless. How much did these cost us?
Anyway, I would not expect much better from a Union but this piece over-hyped, factually inaccurate, posits hypotheticals as reality and overall does a huge disservice to the Police who they claim to be representing.


Anonymous said...

Similar argument re the fire service. Fires, and deaths by fires, are on a steady downward trend, since people gave up smoking in bed, installed smoke alarms and switched to oven chips instead of stove-top deep fat frying. We all understand that there needs to be provision for just in case, but surely some scope for savings?

dearieme said...

"an apolitical staff association": thank goodness they are not the conspirators and perjurers who plotted to bring down that ass Mitchell, eh? Must have been some completely different police organisation.

dearieme said...

Has any organisation fallen as far in public esteem as the police? Even our can't-win-a-battle army hasn't fallen so far.

BE said...

Well as you know I used to visit the belly of the Met beast a while back, and they don't give a stuff about anything the government does or does not do until it affects their uncredibly generous pensions, or carefully-negotiates shift-patterns.

Remember it took the Met about 24 hours to get its riot response going? I was in a briefing on the second morning after Croydon went up in flames and officers were moaning about childcare issues as a result of extended tours.

The police have become just another public sector bloatfest.

Bill Quango MP said...

Inspector Gadget blog used to be a must read.

The government interference in targets and quotas , over the business of policing that the public wanted, had to be read to be believed. The politicisation of the police was scandalous.

However, that must read blog, the comments turned into a pension and retirement site.
And grumble after grumble that any private sector worker accepts as a standard part of the job, sapped much sympathy for the police.

The Police Federation .. Just the usual dinosaur union in a uniform.

Dustybloke said...

The crime figures are totally bogus. Tory and Labour have both redefined "crime" every other year so that antisocial behaviour and shoplifting, for instance, have wildly increased but are no longer crimes.

Regional forces are encouraged to suppress recording of crimes and individual officers are reluctant to record more crimes than needed to meet their targets.

The Old Bill are getting restive because all the constables have gone and the sergeants might have start doing some work.

Dick the Prick said...

@Dustybloke - yep, I used to be an Intelligence Analyst about 10 year back and the figures were nicely massaged for public consumption. As the gaffer's old mantra used to instruct 'now, Dicky, all crimes are incidents but not all incidents are crimes'.

I think the Fed missed out the bit of 'won't somebody, for the love of God, won't somebody think of the children - they're, they're just children you bastards!'

E-K said...

A shame.

Doubtless the cuts are deep. A friend of mine retires from the police this year on a superb package that, in no way, has he paid for - especially if he goes on for thirty or more years after retirement as my father has.

Yes. 14% of salary was taken out but in no way does it cover the costs.

Younger officers are not so lucky. Paid much less and unlikely to reap such good pensions.

At a time of general liberalisation, soft punishment, cultural change, varied crime... it is worrying that policing is being cut rather than redoubled.

I'm with Dusty on how crime is being hidden and reclassified.

CityUnslicker said...

E-K - well you make a better case than the police federation!

BE said...

I don't argue against the allegation that the crime figures are cooked, but I don't think that crime and antisocial behaviour is worse now than it was.

London in the 90s was awful for streetcrime and burglary. People even good areas put bars up on their windows and me and my friends were quite often victims of petty "muggings". It was considered quite brave for women to get themselves home by public transport.

In contrast now London feels incredibly safe, and nobody I know gives a second though to the risk of being mugged or worse on their way home at night.

CityUnslicker said...

BE - I do agree, crime has fallen. When younger I was often watching fights or having my car stolen, robbed etc.

It was part of life.

Now, I tend to see if anything people getting run over (cyclists in London!) and accidents. Much less real street crime.

Even with all the immigration, which I would anecdotally would have thought would lead to more crime due to the Bablyonian

*I do accpet I live and work in better places now, but I travel around a lot across less salurbious dens of iniquity.