Home Office Genius.
I think this is a wonderful idea, and I propose to suggest the introduction of this idea to other areas of police work. I will call it "Hard Shoulder" Policing.
The scheme stems from the fact that we have plenty of emergency measures in place to assist our work in times of national crisis. We all remember the Fuel Crisis. Petrol was regulated, people were advised to stay home, etc. Likewise the Firefighters' Strike. Armed forces driving Green Goddesses were able to perform the fire brigade's duties without much problem.
The premise behind "Hard Shoulder" Policing is that the emergency measures we have in place to kick in when there is a terrorist attack, train crash, fuel depot explosion and the like, should be introduced during times of non-emergency, when things get a little bit tricky. Instead of just phoning off-duty PCs to make them come into work when a plane blows up, they would be phoned any time there is an outstanding domestic harassment that has not been attended. Instead of waiting for a death in custody to bring in shifts from other areas to cover the crisis, they could be brought in at a moment's notice to cover all kinds of duties.
The workload and ongoing situation in each area would be monitored by an automated system. When the amount of unattended jobs rose too high, the computer would generate phonecalls to officers, prioritising those who are due to start work later, those who have just finished work, then those on rest days, those on annual leave, compassionate leave, sick leave, finally calling people who are off with stress. On no account will officers sitting doing nothing at court ever be called into work, however, nor traffic officers.
These non-emergency emergency measures will be expensive, but they will provide higher numbers of police officers on our streets and the overtime will probably be enough to double most PCs' salaries, thereby stemming the complaints about the lack of the 3% pay rise. Beds could even be brought into the police stations to negate the need for them to ever go home in the first place.
I don't know about anyone else, but Blandshire Constabulary is already adopting "Hard Shoulder" Policing with great effect.
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