So apparently the changes to policing by the government are about improving the way we do things. They are about making us perform better. Or so we’re told. So let’s look at the police service as a business. Would you improve your business in the way the government have approached the ‘improvement’ of the Police service? They started by a prolonged and cynical media campaign which focused upon criticising the way the Police behaved in certain high profile events.
Now i’m no business expert but according to most business experts this is not a good idea. Apparently a positive public relations campaign is better for you business. They then initiated a three pronged attack upon the pay and conditions of the employees of the service. Neyroud, Hutton and Winsor. All three launched at once. All three effectively causing cuts to the income and terms of staff crushing morale.
They of course went through a facade of independent consultation. That has now been completely undermined. Most notably Winsor has been shown to have false and misleading information in his supposed consultation. In fact Winsors paymaster made a speech in 2006 http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2006/jan/16/conservatives.ukcrime miraculously Winsors “independent consultation” arrived at the very same conclusions as his paymaster.
Now, once again, I’m no expert but I thought the point of consultation was to consult! Surely there is no point in going through a consultation process if you intend to introduce your own ideas all along. Was this “consultation” a good use of public funds?
So, we’ve done the media destruction and undermined morale. What next? Let’s cut numbers.
Officers and staff are already working at their limits. Let’s get rid of 16’000 police officers and staff. Let’s make them so over stretched that they can’t meet public demand. Affect their safety. Furthermore if they cant respond to jobs as they would like to, because of lack of numbers, then the public will have little support for them. This will help in the media campaign against them.
That’s three steps done. PR, morale and cuts. What else can they do you may ask. Well they can ensure that our investigative priorities are controlled to suit their agenda. Last year politicians showed their true colours. The excellent investigative work of the Telegraph showed them for what they are. Sitting in judgement over others whilst all along stealing money from the system. Dozens caught out. Some imprisoned. Others sacked or resigned. Amazingly many were just asked to pay the money back. Unbelievable. Can you imagine that being done if a police officer got caught fiddling expenses? You’d be in prison before your feet touched the ground. Investigated by police. Caught.
Publicly shamed and some imprisoned. They made the right noises. They ‘sounded’ apologetic. Yet a year later they refuse to reveal information about their expenses. They vote themselves a rise in their generous pensions. Whilst, at the same time attacking the terms of other public sector workers. Teachers, nurses, firefighters etc. They criticise that we pay 11% for only 30 years. They ‘can’ pay up to 11% but they can also pay as little as 5% for ‘two terms’ 8 years. In 2010 Cameron promised that MP’s would face the same pension price rises as thepublics http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13962454 in 2012 they awarded themselves an improved pension! Do we need any more evidence of their hypocrisy?
So what do the government do about this type of scandal? Do they clean themselves up? Do they clean up their own house? No. They place the police under political control to make it less likely that they will be caught ‘again’. After all if you don’t find fraud. If nobody knows about it. It isn’ a problem right? What they do is they give you PCC’s. Now some of them I’m sure will have good intention and want the role for good reasons. But let’s delve below the surface. The PCC will be the titular figure. They will notionally be in control. However they will sit at the head of a panel. A panel which will be made up according to the political balance in the authority are they represent. As such the majority of the panel in a strong conservative area will be conservative loyalists. This panel can veto budget proposals and the choice of chief constable!
Effectively the government of the day will have political control over the majority of police forces! They can influence policing priorities. Can this be right? Is that what the public want? Surely the public want the police to be guided by public concerns and actual crime trends. Not by the governments political agenda. We all know how they will mess with statistics to suit an agenda near to elections. This cannot be allowed to happen.
So let’s recap. We’ve had a negative PR campaign, ruined morale, cut pay, cut numbers and put politicians, who know little about crime, in charge of key decisions. Would you follow this model to ‘improve’ your business? No you would not. So why? Why have they done this? Why in a time when the government have so much to do would they make the effort to do this? When there is such poverty, recession, hardship. This is not saving money. The PFEW made counter proposals to the PNB which saved as much. I would suggest it is to allow them to control the Police and thereby the public for their continued mismanagement of our country.
Furthermore, as shown in his 2006 speech against police the PM has had a personal issue with the police for a long time. Could he still have a grievance over his defeat in Sheehy? Many believe so. It’s curious that all of these cuts seem to be driven by his own personal agenda and not by the policing minister! We need to stand up against these changes. Not only for ourselves but for the public good. The popularity of this government is poor. They are fighting on many fronts. They are weak. Some Tory MPs are speaking out. The tide is turning.Now is the time to join the fight. We can win this. We can stop the changes IF WE WORK TOGETHER We ‘all’ need to make ourselves heard.
Be there May 10th.