My personal theory is it's the probation service and courts letting lots of criminals out early "in time for Christmas". For some reason I can't get anyone to give me figures to substantiate that.
Anyway, November and December are "very bad" for our figures apparently. Which is surprising because only a few weeks ago I attended a special training day in which I was told that we don't have numerical targets any more. So I can only assume that by "bad for our figures" the superintendent meant that we are eating too many mince pies and puddings. And I can only assume "our" refers to specialist departments, because down on response we certainly haven't got time to gain weight, let alone jump on the scales to find out either way.
I do wonder how long we can go on for with the current level of staffing. It seems to me there is a certain amount of time it takes the average PC to deal with an incident of some seriousness, and that whatever pressure the area is under, that time should never and can never be reduced. And yet when the senior management team send out emails that we should be dealing with more and more incidents, arresting more and more offenders, getting more and more successful convictions, with fewer and fewer staff, there is only one place this extra work can come from and that is by each officer doing more. So my PCs rush from job to job, half-taking a statement here, half-seizing an exhibit there, and wholly reading the emails they get about their shoddy workmanship. Plus they've got me, like Marvin the depressed robot, constantly railing against the establishment and encouraging them to ignore the radio, forget the targets, and concentrate on what they're doing in spite of all other voices to the contrary.
There are two kinds of front-line sergeant. Either you are an automated server, passing on text written by someone else with no input into the content. Or you are antivirus software, vetting, scanning and scrutinising everything you are given and deciding what is safe to pass on and what should be labelled as Junk. I know which kind of sergeant my force would rather I were. And I know which kind I am.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.