Tuesday, 18 May 2010

If I Ruled The World

This blog has only given my perspective on how I see policing and life issues, and that perspective is from somebody who by my own admission has suffered stress so take it as you will. No doubt some of my views have been strong at times and not to the liking of all.

As I'm relatively chilled and at ease with life at present I can roll with it and not get too worked up about work. There are however things I would like to see changed in policing. During the course of writing this blog and confronting my issues I've actually managed to get promoted to Inspector. You might think this gives me control over front line delivery but sadly this isn't the case. I am the duty officer on a response team in a busy area with a derisory amount of officers to deal with the demand of calls. I could actually provide a better service if I was allowed to but others removed from what I do seem to know best. Here are the solutions:

Response policing is actually quite simple, all you've got to do is meet demand. Pro activity in the old sense is lost to us and left to the squads who have time to go hunting for villains. Making it better means bringing back dispatch of resources to the local Division. I'm old enough to have worked in an old comms room as a PC and went on to be a Controller responsible for all local deployments. The sad truth is that the centralised radio dispatch system brought in by most force areas is not fit for purpose and isn't working for the front line. Everybody knows this apart from senior management who are mightily impressed that their targets for picking up the phone to the public are improving.

It's a shame that we are not as good in actually getting to those calls. I sit and look at the long list of calls and many of them don't require a police officer to attend. As a controller I would have sorted out most of them as not being police matters or by giving advice over the phone. Unfortunately the Controller is long dead. By bringing back this role local supervision would be improved with the right units being sent to the right calls. Knowing the abilities of your staff and who might be ducking and diving never escaped the Controller.

There are actually dozens of police and PCSO's on duty each day but they are not deployable because policy dictates they are ring fenced to look after their own portfolios. Neighbourhood teams can only take calls on their beat if the call type matches their local priorities. This is madness and it is madness inflicted by police managers looking after their own areas of business. Now I've worked in community and it's no hardship for those working in that field to take some of the work from response. I actually preferred to report all burglaries on my patch so I could take time to look after the victim's and get a feel for who was screwing my patch. It's purely a time and motion thing and using the most of resources available.

Will somebody have the balls to go back and do this? Don't hold your breath. I whined a few months back about my ever decreasing team of officers. Since then I've lost more and more to little squads that pop up. I'm told they will take work from us, but after a few weeks of them telling me how busy they are, some of the work comes back to us because of their "insufficient capacity".

I am actually shocked and flabbergasted at the numbers we've been reduced to but still we carry on, but people are beginning to wobble. How long before they fall over? I don't rule the world - I can't even be trusted it appears to run my team the way I want to. To be fair even my bosses are dictated to by headquarters who seem to know best. I'll do my best to run my little team regardless but now I hear plans are being made to have us cover other Divisions as well in the name of efficiency. The Controller is dead, so is common sense it seems.

8 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

I suspect that even the Chief Officer is dictated to in no small way by the Home Sec. When Jacqui Smith bleated about politicising the police when Boris fired Blair Jr the irony will not have escaped her.

Blue Eyes said...

ps CONGRATULATIONS, Sir!

Stressed Out Cop said...

I suspect we've done it to ourselves - I'm yet to meet anybody including those working in central dispatch who agrees it provides a better service.

Congrats ? .. Actually it's been a while .. all that striving had a spin off eh? Not doing the serious hours has helped my sanity if not the bank balance.

Blue Eyes said...

Oh, well belated congratulations then!

Dandelion said...

Look. Why don't we start a campaign?
I like the title of this post- can you do a manifesto for policing? I reckon I'd back you!

Stressed Out Cop said...

Dandelion

It's like this in most jobs. Those who actually do the front line delivery have a whole host of new ideas imposed on them. Nobody listens to us.

I'm all for change where it adds something. Community policing is one example but that too has been ruined by the centre bending the delivery. (hardly locally led)

This is why most of my people want away from response. It should be the essence of policing but the demand and pressure are overwhelming. This is where incivility and judgemental policing creeps in, something dear to you.

I like local delivery - we are moving to brigaded policing. That is a numbers / value thing and not supportive of customer satisfaction in my view.

Royal Commission is needed so we can sort out what is required in policing. I suspect the public want more on the front line delivery - not trendy squad policing.

Blue Eyes said...

As a voter, taxpayer and law-abiding citizen I can take a wild guess at what many people "want" from the police service:

- for officers to turn up as quickly as possible when required
- to know who to report chronic problems in their area to and to know that that person will take their issue seriously and will hopefully be in a position to do something about it

People don't care about a new uniform or whether the stats say that fewer crimes have been committed. People know whether their areas are safe or not and what the trouble spots are. They don't need to be told that by politicians.

It should be incredibly easy. But bureaucrats don't like simple things and so everything becomes convoluted and inefficient.

MTG said...

Dandelion may have coalition in mind, SoC. I am all in favour of the unworkable ones.