This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh to be Area Commander

My area is run by a Chief Superintendent, with two or three superintendents under him running the individual areas directly. Below that, chief inspectors run certain departments, inspectors run response and neighbourhood teams, and sergeants in different stations run portions of said teams. PCs just run.

Of course, the verb 'to run' means something slightly different to each of these people.
  • Sergeants run the small matter of policing, making instant decisions daily about well over half the incidents that come in. They attend incidents, review and direct their officers' investigations, and make quick decisions about things happening straight away. There is also a sergeant in the control room doing this. Between them, they get it right most of the time.
  • Inspectors run anything to do with the force's priorities, which means they directly review PCs' investigations if they involve domestic violence, race hate, or something the chief inspector has emailed about. The interested ones also manage resources across the area and take control of more serious incidents. Again, there's another inspector in the control room who directs spontaneous unfolding incidents from afar, while the local inspector does it on the ground.
  • The chief inspector runs around, mainly doing what the superintendent asks. This largely includes sending out emails that are beneath the superintendent's job role, such as nagging emails to PCs asking why they haven't arrested such-and-such or complied with the race hate policy in this-or-that. In this sense, the chief inspector's role is pretty much degraded to that of a sergeant who is perhaps holed up in an office with a broken arm, or something.
  • The superintendent runs a complex email system. This involves weekly emails highlighting How We Could Do Better and Why Force Policy Matters, and also redefining the law where necessary to make it fit better with local policy. For example, recently our superintendent redefined the law regarding arrest and detention in custody. It now turns out we can arrest anyone we want, and keep them in custody as long as we want.
  • The chief superintendent runs a blog, which is very cheerful indeed.
I'm in the wrong rank.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the realities above, why on earth are the stars of any TV dramas all Superintendents?

Just because the word sounds good?

24 March, 2010 20:18

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this is shortlisted for the Orwell then something is definitely amiss.

24 March, 2010 21:34

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear. I'm not entirely sure I know what my force's priorities are this week. I think I remember what they were last week, and I've heard rumours about what they may be next week.
The SMT's priorities are altogether more simple and easy to understand.
Promotion, pension, QPM and lucrative consultant job with county council/NPIA etc

24 March, 2010 22:57

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I often think that what would reduce crime the most in this country is if criminals had the same professional leadership and organisation as the police do.

24 March, 2010 23:34

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it when the Control Room Inspector (CIM or Critical Incident Manager) starts spouting on requiring updates within 2 nanoseconds of arriving at a job and you have not even gotten half a story yet... Then the shift Insp starts putting their oar in as its their Cops/job then if there is a lock up made the custody Insp has a say and it all gets to be a middle managment pissing contest... Another wonderful example of too may Chiefs and not enough Indians by the Police.

With regards to our Chief Super who is our A/C commander he is a really nice bloke who remembers names and has a bit of a laugh with the troops... But then he can afford that as he has 2 bastards at Supt to do his dirty work for him.

PC A Hunn

25 March, 2010 09:48

Blogger Urban School Teacher said...

Massive congratulations on making it onto the longlist for The Orwell Prize. Well done. I will have my fingers crossed for you.

25 March, 2010 10:29

Anonymous Anonymous said...

IG, you forgot the knighthood!

25 March, 2010 13:35

Anonymous NottsSarge said...

Maybe bosses are like magpies, always going for shiny things. Those Bath Stars are nice, I fancy a couple of them. Make it three...
Although those gold crowns look shinier. How about a crown AND a star? Cool. But those wreath things would look even better, and if I had them with a crown as well...

The least said about silver braid or scrambled egg on the hat, the better.

They aren't all like that, just the ones who cause problems rather than solutions for those at the pointy end.

My stripes are shiny enough for now

28 March, 2010 03:18

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We must be in the same Farce!

Asa Neighbourhood Inspector I spend about 80% of my time in front of a computer. That figure mus be in The Pledge somewhere. Tunnel is dug and looking to get to more practical work...sometime.

28 March, 2010 20:00


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