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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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Now You HMIC Me, Now You Don't

I've previously ranted about the dastardly function of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary on this blog.  I mean, I've previously posted in eloquent and nuanced tones about HMIC.

The tentacles of this behind-the-scenes, performance-monitoring body are far-reaching.  Indeed, I can link HMIC reports to direct changes made, or about to be made, on the front line of Blandshire that have materially impacted my ability to do my job (for the worse, in case that's not clear).  Some such changes are:
  • Extra entries on custody records.
  • New shift patterns.
  • Extra bureaucratic procedures when attending incidents of anti-social behaviour.
  • Having to buy prisoners brand new trainers out of the force's budget.
  • Having to make hour-long round trips to collect prisoners' medication, and pay for it.
  • Whole teams or squads being formed to target particular crimes.

Most of these HMIC reports have been generated without a member of HMIC ever actually visiting a police station in Blandshire, nor speaking to any officers.  Most of the changes implemented have not been explicitly required by HMIC, nor has the senior officer implementing them visited police stations or spoken to any officers, before introducing them.  It's like an episode of Undercover Boss, but without the bit where the boss goes undercover.
But now, and perhaps for the first time in my memory, HMIC has released a report favourable to those of us at the sharp end.  It estimates that 3000 police jobs will go in London alone, and hundreds more in other forces.

Are Police Chiefs clamouring to jump on the back of this report, the way they have clamoured and jumped when HMIC has suggested time-consuming and bureaucratic changes to the functions of the front-line?  On the contrary, the silence has been deafening.  And is it any wonder, when the lone voice in the wilderness, CC Peter Fahy, was denounced as irresponsible.  Mr Fahy won't be getting the Met call-up any time soon.

The far-from-clear message seems to be: sometimes HMIC is right, and implementing its suggestions can be useful evidence for Chief Constables to accrue in pursuance of their futures.  But sometimes, HMIC is wrong, and speaking out for its conclusions is downright hazardous to one's career.

So the next time my Chief uses an HMIC report to inflict maximum pain on the front line, the thought might occur to me to ask where the plaudits were when that self-same body told the public that Blandshire Constabulary was in dire straits.

Then again, I suppose pointing out anything that could cause the front line to lose confidence in their leader would just be plain irresponsible. 

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


Anonymous Carlotta said...

Mr Fahy was soooooo right. It´s never pleasant when someone is right about you getting it wrong, so they use their muscle to infantilise him by calling him "irresponsible".

01 August, 2011 13:12

Anonymous Anonymous said...

here in the big smoke we dont have any confidence in our leaders. we didnt have any confidence in the last lot either, and they didnt seem to care. our shift pattern has been terrorised, with a resultant knock on on our weekends off (we hardly have any) and now we have less staff than ever before to do the same or even more work. Utterly demoralising, and our line management are equally shattered which isnt helping. I'm not sure what is around the corner, but for the first time in three years I've found myself wondering about what other employment I could seek out.

01 August, 2011 15:47

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lobby your mp for a Royal Commision.

02 August, 2011 11:13


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