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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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why we are howling

The Times yesterday summed up what many police officers see as the real reason for the Winsor report.

"The police are outraged by these reform plans. Good."

The comment article then goes on to bewail thick, fat policemen and the shocking culture of being paid for hours that are worked.

Winsor 2 essentially purports to do two things:
Unfortunately, Winsor can't quite decide which of these two things is the priority, and is thus full of contradictions.  The entry requirements to the police will be raised to include the need for three A-level passes, and direct entry will be permitted to certain ranks.  Yet the starting salary for police officers will be cut.  Just what kind of smart, ambitious A-level students are going to be encouraged to apply for the police under the new salary regime?

Winsor also advocates yearly fitness tests up to Chief Constable rank, with money to be saved by cutting the salaries of those who fail tests.  Does Winsor think that the best talented business and management minds - supposedly attracted to direct entry at inspector and superintendent level - are the same kind of people to thrive on annual fitness tests?  

You can't blame Winsor for wanting senior ranking officers to be fighting fit though.  After all, leaders throughout history have required the highest standards of health and fitness to do their jobs.  I mean, imagine the thought of a high-up Naval officer who can't do press-ups, or somebody in a wheelchair presuming to the role of President!

Other reforms are flawed too: on paper, the plans to stop paying full pay to those on restricted duties is sensible. But in practice a high proportion of people (in my experience) on restricted duties are on them temporarily, due to short-term injury, and cutting their pay for that period may force them out of the job.  And I wonder just what proportion of restricted officers is made up of pregnant women.  Does Winsor think that in the Twenty-First Century, you can get away with cutting a woman's pay because she falls pregnant?  I look forwards to the legal challenges ahead.

So when you really dig down through Winsor's proud claims of savings and professionalism, you find a mishmash of contradictions and flawed arguments.  Is it any wonder that police officers are seeing this as a direct attack?


Why are you wasting your time with that?  Send that dog to university immediately.

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


Anonymous Mrs Doughnut said...

I have yet to see any situation where cheaper equals better.

It's a bit like wanting to spend £ 40 for a hotel room and expecting 5 star quality.

17 March, 2012 14:25

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winsor boils down to 3 things, education, fitness and pay. Look at the entry test for 1959 and look at it today. Plod really are thick, it is not just me saying it. Not the lack of "public outrage". When Firemen went on strike it was 100% support. Fitness? I had to do a BFT when I wore a uniform, why shouldn't you? Plod had it sweet since 1979 and now HMG awoke and realised you could not even arrest a few lads during the August Uprising. Pay? The only job in the world where no matter how crap you are, how many die in custody you get 60k per annum (PC in Met plus overtime). Bramshill delenda est.

17 March, 2012 16:21

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Ciaran...ex-forces myself and now only a few years away from retiring in the police. Will take your points on....

1. Education.....the whole of the working class education has been dumbed down over the years. It may be viewed as being deliberate, who wants intelligent working class people to challenge their masters?

My brother holds a science masters degree. Brilliant mind, but came at the expense of common-sense. When they produce the certificates of A levels it does not guarantee common-sense.

I may be a humble officer who left school at 16 with a few O'levels, but that has not stoped me from enjoying victory in civil courts over Barristers. Yes, they were mightily peed off that a thick copper beat them at their own game but there you go. It is the individual, not their certificates or job. I know many very clever labourers that the elite would look down on.

I do agree the quality coming through recently has been poor, but deliberately so by the elite to then say how thick we are and cut our pay. Clever of them really.

2. Fitness....That has been allowed to slip by our masters, again deliberately to embrace diversity. Me, i am a member of a gym and depite my age would pass the fitness test easily. That is also in addition to carrying the scars of operations received whilst being injured in the line of duty.

3. is luck of the draw. Some officers are lucky, i am not. I have had a divorce which wiped me out along with child support. I work hard and long hours getting all kinds of dogs abuse to keep afloat. I expect the mortgage i took on a couple of years ago will have to go. Wanted to get back on the property ladder, but that was on the basis of what i was earning before these cuts. I have an old car, i won't be going on holiday this year, i will be giving up my house.

We are used by the elite to maintain the illusion of justice, we are in fact here to keep things ticking over for the economy to function.

I don't care that you hate us mate. I am going to be financially knackered, not sure whether to reach for the whiskey bottle or book into the Doctors lol. As long as my child support is paid i don't care. I want my son to do better in life than me, i would cry in despair if he ended up joing the police. Hope your ok though Ciaran.

17 March, 2012 18:31

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry about old Ciaran, he's on the dole so anyone earning 12k plus looks like some kind of Russian oligarch on his envious eyes. Oh, and his "military service" consisted of a few months in the naval reserves before he was booted out for lying about his criminal convictions. This is the calibre of the man you're arguing with. Care to deny it Ciaron?

17 March, 2012 18:55

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

17 March, 2012 20:12

Anonymous Concrete sea said...

Ciaran, Whats the connection between dying in custody and getting paid.How can you include overtime in your £60K figure.'Plod really are thick' is a sweeping generalisation, just like saying all Ciarans bought their degrees.

I always used to love the simple things in life til you came along.

17 March, 2012 21:52

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ciaran.....anon 18.31 here again.

There is no problem with continual learning whilst within the job. Colleagues and friends have stated that i was an idiot for not going for promotion. I may well have been, but i genuinely enjoy the job in so far as helping people and dealing with the most vicious in a professional way. That is a reflection of my religious beliefs that God created us all equal and we are here to help one another.

I wouldn't be able to do a marathon like i did 20 years ago, but i have never chased a suspect for more than a few hundred yeards either. It is not just about physical fitness, it is about a mental attitude. An athlete is no use if they are cowards. Competitive school sport has been decimated, almost as if they want an unfit, lethargic and ill-educated public. They can then get cheaper labour in from abroad i suppose.

A property ladder, if you are genuinely unaware, is the process of owning your own home, buying small and working your way up. I will have to see if i can stay with relatives for a while and then, well even canal boats aren't cheap like they used to be. Will rent somewhere. I was hoping to finish in a few years time and then i would be clearing out abroad. My pension lump sum was going to go to my boy to put him through university, help get him a decent job. But that don't look too promising now.

Every man made institution has its faults and members who have let them down. I won't burn my uniform, not until i get the pension i was promised when i signed up to anyway.

There are a lot of decent officers out there mate, but i've kept all my mates from outside the job so when i finish, that will be it for me. Perhaps i might do some charity work somewhere in the world, the boy might be proud of his old dad!!!

There is more to life than police and hating the police. Best wishes to you.

17 March, 2012 23:59

Blogger Kimpatsu said...

...or somebody in a wheelchair presuming to the role of President!
Don't be disingenuous, Ellie. Physical health isn't necessary for POTUS to do their job, but it certainly is if you want to chase fleeing crooks. Anyway, we have a vaccine for polio these days...

18 March, 2012 02:45

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

18 March, 2012 10:54

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The standard of written English, in the previous comments, leaves a lot to be desired.

18 March, 2012 12:02

Blogger guthrie said...

Kimpatsu, did you miss the bit in the original post where the fitness tests were to be up to Chief Constable level?

The other issue is that public services thrive with the use of experienced people at low level because of the greater amount of personal responsibility and flexibility of approach required. Cutting their pay and conditions and assuming anyone who stays in the bottom ranks is stupid or lazy is a recipe for disaster.

18 March, 2012 12:38

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is Winsor allowed to get away with this rubbish report?

Can't the Fed point out that he seems to have done his research by watching re-runs of Pie In The Sky and speaking to make believe police officers.

It's almost as if the Home Office told him what to write before he conducted his 'research' and he had to find some way of getting the 'facts' to support his conclusions. Clearly that would be dishonest and so would never happen - would it??

18 March, 2012 19:21

Anonymous DB said...

The fitness element is ripe for disregarding. As an ex-Met, now county, officer I can't really think of too many Response officers who'd fail 5.4.

Neighbourhoods, Child Protection, SOIT, CID etc etc that's where the salad dodgers tend to be...but who says they need to be world-class athletes to do a good job?

Don't forget the fitness qualification got easier because the powers that be felt the pre-existing ones were too stringent and dissuaded BME and female candidates.

The 'Met are all fatties' figures used by Winsor were bogus - they were from a self-reporting group attending a weight concern clinic.

Winsor is deadly because it blows up this smokescreen of fitness, but actually it's about moving us to employee status, sans employment rights with a crap pension and pay.

19 March, 2012 10:28

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm no "expert" on the law, but it does seem to me that this Winsor report and what he's suggesting as a measure to "reform" the police, is INSULTING to all the dedicated hard working officers within HM's police.....And isn't it now a criminal offence to use insulting words and behaviour?

This Winsor report could also be regarded as a two fingered (or even one!) rude gesture at Her Majesty, which we saw quite a few of over the past decade or so, from dodgy politicians.

20 March, 2012 01:02

Anonymous Bob S said...


Do you honestly think it fair that officers who end up on restricted duties because of injuries sustained whilst on duty should not only have to suffer from reduced career choices as a result of their disability but also get hit in the pocket too? if Winsors recommendations are put into place an officer on restricted duty would find themselves £9 k per year out of pocket.

Obviously Winsor has not heard about the Disability Discrimination Act.

22 March, 2012 01:40

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

But is not what a lot of Winsor proposes actually illegal under employment and equality law?How can a disabled person be paid less on the grounds that they are disabled?How can someone be made redundant because they are at a certain pay scale?or because they broke their leg and cannot do the fitness test?What about childcare or elderly relatives-are people going to be penalised for this especially as it tends to be females that do this caring.I think a lot of Winsor 2 will fall on these grounds if the Fed actually gets their act together.
Would the lardy Fed Reps also have to do the test?

25 March, 2012 16:51

Blogger kris said...

Whilst you are frettng about fitness tests, I find the concept of plastic Inspectors more troublesome.

In Winsor-world, cops are just a wee bit dumb and need Oxbridge youth to lead.

While direct commission to the Army as junior officers may be a good idea, cops aren't squaddies.

Further, Inspector is not a junior "commissioned" rank.

I wonder what Winsor plans to do with those who've worked their way up and passed their Part 1s?

Should they quit and apply to be an instant Inspector?

If the Tom Winsors and Blair Gibbs of this world had ever worn the uniform themselves (any uniform), they might at least consider the effect of their actions on morale.

Thatcher was bright enough to keep the cops onside. This government will have the police marching alongside every other public sector worker.

Will they call in the Army to carry out the police function?

Whoops! They should have thought of that before they gave all the squaddies their redundancy notices in the field.

09 April, 2012 21:49

Anonymous Mayo said...

I've just finished reading your book. Couldn't put it down. :)

11 April, 2012 16:54

Anonymous Anonymous said...

3 A levels as a minimum requirement? Nice one Winsor, we might all be thick in your jaded eyes , however that will be the end of the diverse backgrounds that officers come from and the diverse life experiences that we have all endured.
Some of the best officers I know have no academic qualifications, have joined late in life, or have plentiful life experiences which make them sound judges of character and calm in situations. This reform will end all that. I have GCSE's, left school at 16, worked as an electrician until I was 19 and then joined the police. Save sounding like an idiot, I am regarded as being one of the most proactive, knowledgable and effective officers in my policing area. I however have colleagues who are university educated and are cowardly, lacking massively in common sense, and could not be trusted with your goldfish whilst you were on holiday- but according to Winsor these individuals are 'better' than me?? I think not Tom.

Sometimes I will admit, when exploring my youth, I can recall times when I did things I shouldn't but who hasn't?
These times however put me on good stead to tune my 'policemans radar' - you can't teach that in the sixth form I'm afraid Winsor.

Common sense, life experiences, sound judgement, and being able to sniff out a 'wrong un' at 1000 paces make a good copper, not academic qualifications in my opinion, mainly I would suggest at the helm of policing, response officers, the infantry of the Police Service.

I'm sure our proposed freshly out of sixth form new wave of officers will have all the above attributes. Not.

But hey, Tom Winsor knows everything right???
I can assure you the public want brave officers who will get out of thier car, single crewed a majority of the time, and confront the drug dealers, thiefs, and scuzz that plague the once nice estates they moved into.

Not an officer who can give them advice on the best trajectory, and flight path of the brick they are about to put through an elderly war Heros window because he dared challenge them.

I am sure there are probably spelling mistakes and grammatical errors within this rant, I however don't need 3 A levels Tom........... I have an iPhone that corrects it for me. Sack me now.

01 June, 2012 22:42


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