Page 8 - Police Magazine - April 2017
P. 8


                                            Federation: HMIC  report is a ‘wake-up call’

                                            Police forces are floundering in    good service in keeping people safe
                                            austerity and struggling to respond   and preventing crime, HMIC said
                                            to increasing and ever-changing     some were guilty of an “unconscious
                                            levels of demand, says Her Majesty’s   form of rationing of police services”.
       Finding evolution                    Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).  As a result there were fewer arrests
                                             Inspectors looking at all 43
       to be a challenge                    forces in England and Wales         and proper investigations, with
                                                                                suspects remaining at large.
                                            flagged a deterioration in some
       It would appear that I have hurt the   services – such as neighbourhood   Unfairly judged
       tender feelings of an alleged DC by   policing – and said the shortage of   Some forces hit back against
       suggesting that readers of the Guardian   detectives was a “national crisis”.   the criticism; Bedfordshire Chief
       are as anti-police as those of the    Talk of “raising a red flag” by HMI Zoe   Constable Jon Boutcher defended
       Daily Mail (POLICE, February edition).   Billingham, who led the inspection,   his “outstanding” officers and
       Apparently, nothing could be further   reinforced the views of serving officers   expressed significant concerns about
       from the truth, according to the sleuth   and commentators who have been
       who wrote in to complain (under I    highlighting the problems for years.  the report, adding: “While I welcome
       suspect a pseudonym, so I’ll call him                                    the Inspector’s comments regarding
       DC Flake). We are beloved by the same                                    the challenges we face as a force in
       metropolitan liberals (whom I affected   Too simplistic                  regards to our complex demands
       to despise) because we are very pink   Police Federation of England and   and lack of resources due to poor
       and fluffy nowadays.                 Wales (PFEW) chair Steve White said:   funding, it is incredibly disappointing
        Clearly it is me who is out of step. I   “I haven’t heard this language from   to have been so unfairly judged.”
       should have learnt, of course. Gone   HMIC before – it gives much credence   Mr White added: “Some forces are
       are the halcyon days of my service as   to what we have been saying for some   clearly coping better than others, but
       a sergeant when a DC’s place was to   time. But talk of austerity is actually   you can’t compare 43 forces with one
       bring me a mug of tea and sit down for   too simplistic. HMIC talks about a   another – it’s like comparing apples
       a couple of hours while I gave them the   denigration in neighbourhood policing   with pears. What we are seeing is a
       benefit of my hard-won wisdom. The   – what do you expect when the central   service that is only being driven by
       system worked well: DC Flake would   budget for policing has been slashed   cost constraints and some areas of
       have gained from the experience of my   by 22 per cent since 2010? The number   policing are on the critical list and
       own mistakes and learned how to make   of cops has also dropped drastically –   heading towards intensive care.
       a proper brew, while also becoming   since 2009 we have lost 21,500 officers.  “We keep saying it, but this report
       embedded in the culture that had      “We have been pointing out the     really has got to be a wake-up call.
       served the police service so superbly.   pitfalls of continually taking the axe to   There now needs to be a proper
       Everyone was a winner, including me as   police budgets over successive years   debate around how much the public
       I didn’t have to put the kettle on myself.  and warning that it will actually hurt   and Government want from their
        Now, however, we have a new and     the very people we have pledged to   police service and how much they
       very precious generation. Heaven*    protect – members of the public.”   really want to spend on it. The public
       forbid that our constables now consider   While most forces provided a largely   and our officers deserve as much.”
       the Guardian to be worthy of defending,
       let alone reading. No disrespect, but it   Inspectors fear neighbourhood policing is now  ‘on the missing list’
       is something I would generally expect to
       be read by teachers and social workers,   Last year HMIC warned that     Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and
       rather than cops. Even worse: the DC   neighbourhood policing was being   the Association of Police and Crime
       in question considers it is acceptable   eroded. This year, say inspectors, there   Commissioners, to issue new guidance
       to take a sergeant to task in a national   is even more evidence of this.  covering a range of areas including
       policing publication. Whatever is the   “This is likely to negatively affect   targeted, intelligence-led preventative
       world coming to? Perhaps I can sign off   forces’ ability to undertake vital   activity and patrolling to combat
       by pointing out to my friend that... ‘it is i   proactive and preventative aspects of   anti-social behaviour, and increased
       before e in grievance’.              fighting crime,” the report concludes.  neighbourhood policing to tackle
              *Other realms of the Afterlife may    It is now recommending a raft of   serious and organised crime, prevent
                          also be available.  proposals, calling on the College of   violent extremism and keep vulnerable
             Follow me on Twitter @stationsarge  Policing, working with the National   members of communities safe.

       8  POLICE  April / May 2017
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