Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Eyes Wide Shut

Parallels = Same Result

Okay I've digested Winsor 2, but I'd actually read the transcript of conversations that had taken place with The Federation so no real surprises in there for me! So what is happening here and why?

It just so happens, that this week Petrol Tanker drivers have voted to strike. There are some interesting parallels here that need examination. I declare an interest as my old man used to be one, and if I wasn't doing Policing, I would have been living in Essex probably doing the same. I am friends with people who are in Unite and I know what has happened in the past few years in that business.

In my father's day he was employed by an oil company to deliver fuel and oil. He was therefore enrolled into their pension scheme, which was one of the best in the private sector. It is a skilled job and safety is the name of the game as effectively you are driving a potential bomb. The drills are everything and routing, cambers, loading, unloading and entry into delivery sites is taken very seriously, with an expectation to act on near misses reported by the drivers. It has therefore been well paid and "The Company" could well afford it.

About 20 years ago "The Company" then decided to save money and put the delivery side of its business out to contract. Tenders were made and effectively the drivers were off the books and employed by whoever got the 5 year contract. Terms and Conditions changed and the longer service people were either paid off or were offered £20k in compensation to take a 25% pay cut. They were most importantly out of the pension scheme and accrued payments were frozen, and then into an inferior pension with the contract winner, where to benefit they would have to work longer.

Over the years market forces ensured that salary rates stayed low. The staff turnover was higher as people were often attracted elsewhere, and in driving circles petrol delivery still remained better paid so recruitment was never going to be a problem. Although safety is still high on the agenda, safety incidents are I'm told up, as are the resulting dismissals. Had a PollColl recently? Imagine getting a written warning if you are found at fault instead of some points on your police driving record.

A few years back the wages had effectively not increased much and the union stood their ground for a raise in salary. Oil prices were at an all time high as were company profits for oil companies. Media dirty tricks kicked in to paint the drivers as "greedy" yet same job 17 years after conditions changed, only paid the same money as previously? That was some erosion in pay if you were employed on the old terms.

Interesting times ahead for Policing. G4S will now obviously take parts of core policing and see above for what I suspect it means for current police officers. I think I blogged previously that PCSO's would go that way eventually but never thought that would come to warranted officers. Getting police off the Public Sector pension liability is good for the taxpayer and I suspect an experiment for other public services.

Did you used to judge those people on demonstrations when they went on about corporate greed? Maybe their eyes were open!!

If I'm honest I can see why they'd do this. Policing is not the efficient common sense disciplined occupation I joined over 25 years ago. It really is simple put more on relief to deal with what the public want and dispose of the central control and performance monitoring. There's your 20% savings.

Monday, 27 February 2012

A Prediction

Sometimes you can anticipate extra work coming along so here's a little prediction. I am a technophobe however am aware that in many mobile devices, (Apple for one) that you can either activate a GPS tracker or in the newer versions it's there as standard. Great for police if your phone is genuinely stolen by robbery and you want it back.

Not great for police if your phone is "Lost/Stolen" in a pub.

I predict more than a few drunken persons coming our way with expectations that we'll drop everything in order to track their "Stolen" phone. I believe phone providers are already sending people down to the nick, having told them what we can do.

We'll see !!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

I'm Still Standing

Hello - It's been a while and thought I'd pop in for a one off post.

Since I stopped blogging the Country has continued on a downward trajectory and this once fantastic job has followed the trend line. A few years back I would have been ranting about it but there are more important things in life to worry about. I used to sell my soul in my chosen trade and the past couple of years have learnt that I can't do it any more and find myself hanging on.

I am affected by the Winsor stitch up, losing increments but will escape anything that Hutton throws up in relation to my Pension. If I take into account some Army service I can go with a full pension in about 2 years time. I am physically injured and mentally shot but in a better place than previously. I don't work the long hours that I used to and feel healthier for it, although occasionally massage my ego with some extra specialist duty that results in jail time for those I play with. It might mean finishing at 3 or 4 in the morning and still having to make Early Turn but that's a personal thing and I'm not motivated by money as I don't incur overtime anymore.

I do find myself somewhat in a quandary about the financial situation the country is in. As one of Maggie's children I'm very small state minded and see the need for a smaller public sector and the need to cut pensions. It is a good deal we have and obviously unaffordable for the Country at large in the longer term, but that was the deal when I signed on the line and put my body through the grinder. I've fulfilled my side of the bargain policing the streets on shift for most of my service, and have the scars and pains to show for it. NuLabor dodged the big decision at the time on Pensions, however a double hit on Police, targeting Pay and Conditions followed by the Hutton change is in my opinion unfair as it presently stands. I doubt very much if it would have happened if The Police Federation had looked into Full Industrial Rights a few years back. I'd rather HMG looked at benefit tourism, as my eyes tell me there's plenty of savings to be made there, due to European integration, Who did vote for that?

I fear the writing is on the wall and this once Great Institution is heading for privatisation in some form. That means that the Office of Constable will become a thing of the past and all about indicators and bottom lines. If they understood policing and it was just about crime then OK what's the problem? - but Policing is about People and picking up the pieces where other agencies are so obviously failing. Police Officers care and do outstanding work with the Mentally Ill and Young People in a preventative way, along with so many other interactions that are not crime related. The question I pose is, if we don't do it - Who will? Just look at Social Service provision out of office hours and think who currently fills that gap. There are not many indicators in baby sitting children in Police Protection for several hours whilst waiting for Social Services to grind into some action.

I had the opportunity when out with an MP on patrol to tell it the way it was. He listened and knew I spoke the truth, however the truth is not in line with current government policy or I doubt personal MP career progression.

The facts are it's going to get worse before it's get better. The situation is what it is .. Do your best and try to be happy, and remember you can't change the world but you can possibly do real good for somebody on that next call. That's your reward !!