This is a message from @SirIanBlair on the eve of May 10th 2012 – I want to explore a few things that are whirring through my mind. British Policing and the Office of Constable, the mainstay of policing is facing big challenges; political intervention in policing is rife and this is bad news for both the rank and file and the public. Yet I see no leadership from police leaders.
Police Leaders must accept some apportion of blame for the position we are in today for they have allowed police organisations to outgrow unnecessary functions and roles; yet the pinnacle of British Policing is the Officer and PCSO on the beat. Analysts analysing statistics and call answering times; PA’s on a power trip and civilian managers who think they are sworn senior officers. This is the monster that Labour created; police leadership has lost its way.
Leadership is a strong word; it is about how an individual leads others during difficult times. It is about values and ethics. It is about the core organisation and about how senior management teams manage functions within an accountable framework. Leadership is about how Supervisors manage their own teams without forgetting who they are there and the office of constable. At the lowest levels leadership exists and this is something we should be proud of. #Holdtheline – but at the highest levels, however, there has been little “sovereign” leadership, just personal career strategising and the next promotion board.
Only a few Chief Officers have come out to say they oppose the pace of these cuts. One has resigned, whilst the majority have remained quiet. When they have nothing else to lose they will all come out and play as our friend; yet friends are the ones you can trust, who are with you through thick and thin. Not one ACPO rank has come out and said they will find the time to join the protests. This type of leader is precisely the type of leader that policing does not need; yet it is the “careerist” that the Higher Potential system has created.
I see some individual leaders protecting their own empires and aspirations courting govt. offices for awards; but these inspire no one. I saw no co-ordinated rejection of Hutton, Winsor or Neyrouds reforms from either ACPO or the Supts. Association. What a debacle.
Now, I have seen many leaders come forward recently, some retired, some anonymous and most from the lower ranks. James Patricks video was an inspirational calling to the front lines; the last call to attention. The twitter hash tags created by many low ranking/retired/police staff individuals #antiwinsornetwork #holdtheline #stopthepolicecuts and images created by similar ranks are showing ACPO and the others the true meaning of pure leadership. Some of these tags have trended and made the national news. That my dear fellows is pure leadership. We are the leaders.
I now want to address young in service Bobbies – I have no pleasure in announcing the quiet behaviour of some towards this demolition of the police service; however from youngsters I can understand their stance. Of course these new candidates cannot miss what they never had; that is a fact. And like most youngsters they do want to drive fast cars and catch criminals. That is their priority.
For time served colleagues, though, policing cuts of this type are not to be taken lightly. The younger ones need to remember with some respect that these old fellas and lasses have got the t shirt and have been doing the job for years. #Holdtheline.
There will come a point in time where you will earn less than a train or bus driver. Do you really want to go back to policing 1980’s style? If you do and you think it’s acceptable then expect to fight communities and youngsters; expect to have petrol bombs thrown at you, expect to be isolated on estates, with little or no back up. Listen carefully to what we are saying. Expect officers to be injured. And with the media and phone technology expect something you do to be recorded and face the risk of losing your job because of being misinterpreted. If you cannot support the Federation now, who will support you when you face a disciplinary chaired by a Tesco manager?
Young ones – There will come a time when your body will not be able to take the ever changing shift patterns that managers put your way because govt. policy allows them to do this. Change after change after change. You might be OK to work shifts in your 20’s, but when you fall into a relationship, unless your partner understands, it will be a difficult road. And when you have children you might not be able to spend the time that others do with theirs. Think carefully about Winsor’s proposals.
In your mid 30’s you will begin to feel shattered. And at 40 your body will start to slow down. And you will look at the new recruits joining then. They will be able to run faster than you; they may even be fitter. But you will be expected to be an operational beat bobby at the age of 60/65. The average life expectancy of a police officer following 30 years service after retirement is low. The govt. will use every tactic to divide the service, but you must be united with your time served colleagues.
I have a message for CID officers too – Do you really believe that these changes won’t affect you? I think you’ve got away lightly with reform in the past, but not this time. Don’t be fooled for these changes have been thought through by clever civil servants in their offices. Just because you are not uniform do not expect to walk away. The changes will affect your salary, your overtime, your workloads, your stress and your length of service.
We have 130,000 sworn officers, yet most of the e- petition signatures opposing these cuts show no significant take-up. If you want these issues debated in the House of Commons then sign the petitions. It’s your call. You can take action in many many ways and take control back from these politicians who really do not understand policing or your conditions of service.
Even I believe there is a need for police efficiency at peak times so that you have back-up, (Eve’s and nights). I also understand the need to get officers onto the streets but equally when they are injured on duty, or through no fault, they need somewhere to recuperate. Police reform must be balanced; it must not put the public or officers at risk. And there must now be some professional leadership from ACPO and the Supers. Put your careers on hold; the front line are calling you.
My message for us all is simple – We are going through unprecedented austerity. We know this. We are going through a double dip recession. We know this. We want change but 20% police budget cut/reduced numbers together with recession conditions set the environment for discontent and civil unrest. Crimes will rise, especially robbery/knife/violent crimes.
Police Officers are not greedy; far from it; those standing up are trying to protect you, but they need your support. Their goodwill will has been stretched by Winsor, Hutton and a Police Minister who is never there; Herbert. Some are getting physically drained and that is dangerous for their health and safety. We therefore wholeheartedly ask you to stand united and support (1) a Royal Commission, (2) and an independent enquiry into the mismanagement of police reform by successive govts. #antiwinsornetwork