Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Friday, 1 January 2010

Jack Straw and the Police

Jack Straw thinks the Police are lazy and actually prefer to spend their time indoors, where they can keep themselves nice and warm whilst filling in a few forms that, he says, take no more than an hour or so.

Mr Straw thinks the Police are undisciplined, and Mr Johnson agrees with him. Mr Straw is, at present, the Justice Secretary and Mr Johnson the Home Secretary.

Apart from the fact that Mrs R remembers what Jack Straw was like as a student, she also thinks that, before making such a careless public criticism, he would do well to find out what's happening in the real world and what real people think of policies that are imposed from on high. His criticism could do more to alienate and undermine the authority of decent and hard working Police than almost anything else he and his colleagues have done in the last few years.

Do either Mr Straw or Mr Johnson think imposed "targets" make themselves up, all on their own without human intervention? Doesn't it cross their minds, even for a fleeting moment, that their own departments are responsible for keeping the Police indoors. It's the multitude of government bean counters, quota hunters and target seekers who keep the Police chained to their chairs, not electric fires and coffee cups.

Here's one place he could have looked, which gives a list of Police targets for 2010, they're shared with the world by Inspector Gadget - dated 28th December, four days before Mr Straw launched his broadside.

I quote :-
Here are the targets for my team in 2010.

1. The number of Detected Crimes per officer, measured against the other teams (supposedly dropped; still around with a vengeance)

2. The amount of overtime spend, measured against the other teams (ignore everything towards the end of a shift)

3. The number of annual Appraisals submitted on time (dash through a ‘cut & paste’ session to meet the deadline)

4. The amount of violent crime in the area, measured against other Divisions, regardless of location (arrest for D&D as instructed)

5. The number of officers who complete the Diversity Training packages in time (apparently I can take a pay cut if this is not done).

6. The amount of time we take to submit road accident reports, measured against the other teams (accuracy would be better but….)

7. The amount of time we take to submit domestic violence reports, measured against the other teams (as above)

8. The amount of time I take to submit personnel paperwork (the personnel department do what exactly?)

9. The number of days taken off sick by my team, measured against a ‘analytical product’ from somewhere.

10.The number of Customer Service cold-calls I make and the number of Customer Service forms handed out by my team.

11. I must have a Diversity & Performance Meeting, every week, with every officer, and submit the minutes within 7 days of each meeting. These meetings are to be held individually, not as a team, and must cover 1 to 10 above.

Now Mrs R can do basic calculations and basic time keeping, and she's fairly confident that if she had to do all this stuff as well as ordinary policing (which she doesn't because she has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Police Force) she's fairly sure it would take up quite a bit of time.

Mrs R isn't at all sure she'd appreciate a "cold call" from the Police, she's fairly sure she'd put the phone down thinking it was a hoax!

She's very intrigued to know why every Police Officer has to have a "Diversity and Performance" meeting each week - does this mean that each officer has their own 'diversity' targets to meet, and can be told off if they fail to have ticked all the right boxes? Surely they don't have to either arrest or stop and search a given number of people who fit certain profiles, or make sure the number are balanced to give a 'fair' ethnic mix?

To think there was a time when the Police were reacting to or trying to prevent crime - irrespective of who was the perpetrator - and to keep communities safe.

If they were able to do this today then potential thugs such as this "child" from Croydon might be under control, kept ther by proper 'community policing' - instead of having his tag removed by magistrates who decided it was pointless!

It's worth reading the comments beneath Insp Gadget's original post here

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