This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but 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 pay my salary.


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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Bloggs Review

If the Winsor Review is implemented in full, I will be less well off to the tune of about £1200 after tax, which when allowing for inflation of 5%, is significant, but not devastating.  However, the real issue that police officers have with the approach to reform is the attitude that it is acceptable to cut perks without giving anything in return.  Here are some ways that reform could both give as well as take away:
  1. If rest day working with less than five days notice is reduced to time-and-a-half (from double time), regulation could be changed so that officers can refuse to come in with less than five days' notice for anything less than a national emergency.  Having the rule about double time has forced forces and the court system to plan ahead, which is the main benefit for officers.
  2. Bank holiday pay could be similarly adjusted, but forces failing to plan their bank holiday staffing six months in advance should have to pay a higher rate.  Christmas and New Year staffing should be organised the January before, with volunteers requested before enforced working is implemented.  This would penalise those forces that constantly shuffle staff around at short notice and fail to remember when national holidays are until a few days before.
  3. My next suggestion was going to be about replacing Special Priority Payments with bonuses for those who genuinely work antisocial hours and are exposed to daily confrontation and unpleasantness, but Tom Winsor's already thought of that.
  4. Housing/living allowances could be means-tested (although it could be more expensive to means-test than just to pay everyone).
  5. Inspectors - who don't get overtime - should have strict rules on the number of extended shifts and cover shifts they have to work, and forces should be made to implement these fairly across all inspectors rather than weighting the hours to those on response.
The above wouldn't please everyone, but it would seem fair to the public.  Here are some more ideas that could also be implemented, that might change ACPO's view on the "antiquated" overtime rules:
  • All superintendents and above should have to work a shift in custody every month and a shift as duty inspector.
  • All superintendents and above should have to attend a domestic every three months and do all the relevant paperwork.
  • All superintendents and above should have to phone CPS Direct once a year for a charging decision. 
The problem with police officers jumping up and down about pay is that the Federation have consistently failed to jump up and down about bureaucracy and injustice, and the public are unlikely to have much sympathy.  Why should you care what the officer is being paid who turns up to arrest your twelve-year-old for a schoolyard scrap?  Or gives you a penalty ticket for chasing yobs out of your back garden?

Young front-line officers are still being pressured by management to police in a way that massages crime figures and props up the PDRs of senior ranks.  Our performance measures have not changed, regardless of what the Home Secretary may claim.  Until the police put up sterner resistence to that, no one's going to jump on our pay and conditions bandwagon.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous rural sgt said...

There's a very naughty piece of journalism on the BBC website where they try to compare police pay to firefighters etc, but until they give us beds in the nick for nightshift there's no comparison. Oh wait, they tried to mess with the fire service and they went on strike ! I'm 24/7 and like you will lose a bit, but it could be worse and still could be when the pension report comes out tomorrow.

09 March, 2011 16:48

 
Blogger Mark said...

The Con dems have lost the plot. Much though I disliked Maggie Thatcher, at least she had the political sense to make sure the police were well looked after prior to implementing divisive policies (eg closing the pits).

rural sgt: I too was surprised at the poor BBC journalism. But then I thought about the shafting they've already had. No increase in the licence fee for several years, and from their existing income having to shell out to support S4C, improved broadband for rural areas etc. Perhaps their once excellent investigative journalism has given way to toeing the government line?

09 March, 2011 17:32

 
OpenID inspectorgadget said...

Tories regard us a a servant class,a little like their Indian maids and Eastern European nannies, actually no, less than the nannies. Labour pimped us out like a 5 dollar crack-whore to every political trend going, ACPO bent over for this and now we look like a gutless bunch of losers. I hate them all. That is all.

09 March, 2011 19:10

 
Anonymous Rural Sgt said...

Ed Milliband actually had some goods stuff to throw at Cameron today, but he just doesn't do confrontation ... Similar to some pcs and cso's I've known...

09 March, 2011 19:31

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The chairman of the Fed didn't do officers much of a favour, when he was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying...."I know some of the government have never had to pay a mortgage, so they don't understand what it is to live on a budget, but for many officers it is going to mean losing their homes or not being able to put the heating on."

Not sure how officers on a reasonably good salary could be at risk of losing their homes, unless they have over extended themselves with high mortgage payments, or are about to lose their jobs.

But the bit about "not being able to put the heating on"? A bit of an exaggeration there I think!

Unless he was refering to officers who may be about to lose their jobs and start claiming Jobseekers Allowance, or ESA as it is now called. It is true to say that anyone on benefits getting a personal allowance of £65 PER WEEK, for food and ALL bills, would find it hard to pay for heating, as well as food. Often there is a hard choice of "Eating or Heating".

As a "special", disabled in the line of duty some years ago, I have had to rely on benefits to survive. My "income" has been approx £7K per year. It has been very difficult to survive on so little, but I have, just about, and managed to put the heating on. However, holidays, days out, entertainments and new clothes have either been not do-able, or few and far between!

Pay cuts are never welcomed by anyone....it means a serious re-think of ones budget and what really is essential for survival. It's the luxuries that have to be crossed off the list.

And you are spot on Bloggsy.....The Fed didn't protest in any meaningful way about all the nonsense bureaucracy etc of recent years, only about plans to cut officers pay. So I cannot see the public having much sympathy, as they see many police officers as having been very well paid in recent years, like MP's! That is as true for chief officers, as it is for the ranks below.

The front line officers do deserve good pay, every penny of it and more besides. Their pay will not be cut by the proposals, will it?

10 March, 2011 03:54

 
Anonymous Mac said...

Anonymous,

Yes it will, only the intention in the recommendations is that it won't be by as much as non- front line.

However the unintended flaw is that the 'front line' is predominantly made up of younger in service officers who will be disproportionately affected by the 2 yr freeze in incremental pay.

Where I work I foresee a new mass exodus to the Met for the London weighting once they start recruiting again. The SPP effectively halted that and was the main reason it was brought in.

The irony is that the Home Secretary's own constituency, bordering London, will presumably be one of the hardest hit by officer migration to the Met.

10 March, 2011 04:21

 
Blogger Kaela said...

The Winsor Review is certainly an agressive and far reaching proposal. However, the fact remains of all the basic services, the Police come in for the best dollop of public funds for hours worked and risk taken. Are you saying you are worth more than Nurses, Teachers and the boys and girls in the Armed Services? I hope not.

A proposal some years ago was to absorb ALL the police, including transport police, into a single Force run on the same prescribed lines of the Military. This would mean you would all get a fair pay for a months work, Just like the Military, with a common uniform, a uniform complexity of equipment and a common rule set for all. Yes you would get the other military perks, assisted housing, gauranteed promotion and a wealth of environments to work in. Further, as there would be a common band of pay for each rank and skillset, overtime, double-bubble and 'money for nothing' would become a thing of the past.

As an ex-employee, I am proud of the work I did for the Police and the community in which I served, but I did witness first hand much squandering of resources, greed at overtime, time off, and time in the book, fund-snatching by senior officers and management consultants and 'Directors' and hefty trousering of funds by IT Departments, Police Trainers and social do-gooders who contributed more to their income than the welfare of those they were paid to protect.

After that little I am saddened to know many of you do nothing but fiddle as much as you can as quickly as you can, and a some of you are underpaid and under-respected. But curbs on the massive income flow to senior police officers, administrators and those in a police roles that are not doing anything to contribute, need to be addressed and curtailed. You are not 'better' than the other emergency services, and you do not qualify in this cash-strapped time for more and more free money. The Winsor Review is spot on.

10 March, 2011 10:06

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My income has fallen by 50% since 2008. I can't afford to pay into a decent pension, and while I know you guys pay in handsomely you also get to take it a lot earlier than everyone else and get a new job at 55 (there are still jobs out there).

I'm not saying I don't think the police should be well paid, I do.

I just think you are barking up the wrong tree (collectively, you appear to see the reality Bloggsy) in expecting any public support.

There are more deserving cases - squaddies in Afghanistan earning £18k a year, for instance.

The real problem is the huge welfare bill paid to keep able-bodied young people in idleness while we import three million foreigners to do their jobs.

10 March, 2011 10:24

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Squaddies do not pay towards their pension, nor does any person in the armed services.

10 March, 2011 14:38

 
Anonymous Mac said...

So answer this - do you want to see 65 yr old police officers on the front line?

10 March, 2011 23:35

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Police officers have very few rights, far less than a normal citizen. The only thing which gives us some protection are the current overtime rules. Without them, I'd be working 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week. But ACPO would like that!

Being a PC myself the following applies.

If I'm told to work overtime I'm not allowed to say no and I have to comply. I have been on cordon duties, on foot, for over 16 hours without food or a break, said hello to residents leaving for work, then said hello when they've returned 10 hours later.

I cannot say no to getting my days off cancelled at very short notice.

I cannot buy tickets to take my children to the 2012 Oylimpics (over a year away)because my days off are not fixed and all leave has been cancelled.

I cannot make any firm commitments for a work days, because I will often not have a clue when I'll get home. (You can bet if I do, I'll be required to stay on duty.)

I never know whether I'll be allowed to have Christmas with my family

I am on a police officer 24 hours a day and can be dismissed if someone deems I have brought the force into disrepute- even if I'm off duty (E.g. go to a party and get drunk.)

Even if I act in good faith and the courts agree my actions were legal and correct, the force can still dismiss me (Example: Wiltshire Police Custody Sergeant).

Not only am I accountable for my actions (or lack of actions) in law and the courts, I’m also accountable to senior officers, the IPCC, anybody who wants to complain and increasingly the media.

I am not allowed to strike, be a member of a political party or trade union.

The life expectancy of a police officer is low. I don't know many retired officers who have lived much more that 5 to 15 years after leaving.

The above is the reasons the terms and conditions were put in place to start with. To give officers some protection from being exploited and some compensation to them and their families if they are. Policing is unique and comparing it to nurses or teachers or fire-fighters is like comparing a pedal cycle to an aeroplane. I would agree that soldiers deserve every penny, but two wrongs don’t make a right.

11 March, 2011 14:29

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kaela,

I have been appalled at the waste of money i have seen in the police force. It's politicians and social engineers that have been a driving factor in it. I was brought up with a strong moral outlook and i have seen society deteriorate around me with greed and idleness, and a few of them are in the police.

I don't see myself as 'better' than nurses, teachers or whoever you want to suggest....just 'different'. I have been a 'frontline' shiftworking bobby for 23 years. I was 7 years away from retirment, now it may be 17 years. If that is the case i do not think i will make it.

I have too many injuries, head and body, my stomach plays up due to irregular eating and sleeping. Personally, i am a single parent, which is a job in itself for many on benefits. I am struggling now with drunken and drugged up yobs, i won't be up to it in 10 years time let alone 17 years.

The 30 years for police was brought in due to the demands of the job. Bobbies working in offices then fair enough, make them work longer, but those on the frontline should do 30 and leave.

And what do you mean...'more and more free money'? I'm asking for nothing more than the govt. to honour the contract i signed up for and have worked for in the last 23 years. I'm going to do a 'review' of my mortgae and tell the company that although i said i would pay beack the £90,000 i borrowed, times are tough and i will just pay back £50,000. Is that ok? The building societies are rich and they can't expect more and more 'free money' from me.

11 March, 2011 14:43

 
Blogger Kaela said...

By 'Free Money' I refer to money aquired by the act of taxation in any form, as opposed to 'created money', ie, from the sale of manufacturing goods and services.

We all pay taxes, and more and more money is damanded to pay government driven process.

This comes from the taxes we pay.

You cannot keep increasing the amount of tax you pay to pay government officers so they in turn can pay tax. Free Money is very limited and has actually run out.

In effect, if Government people had they pay tax free, and reduced to the same level as (after tax), it would be more clear. but then you would have people complaining you dont pay tax. so its a stupid situation.

But the money for Police Forces etceteras is not generated or created, it comes solely from taxation on those who earn, it is in effect, as far as your paymaster is concerned, free money.

15 March, 2011 13:48

 

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