I'm having something of an enforced gap in blogging due to being too busy, but here's a story to show the police aren't all bad. Or more accurately, that one civilian scenes of crime officers isn't bad.
The civilian members of Blandshire Constabulary may not take front-line risks, but their jobs are "at risk" most of the time. The Police Federation is frightened that if we admit some of our roles can be done by non-sworn officers, the police will be further and further civilianised and our powers taken away.
In actual fact, civilians free up front-line officers to concentrate on those situations that require our powers. They aren't versatile and they can't deal with the next life-threatening emergency that crosses their path, which means they don't get distracted from CCTV collection and statement-taking. Since the loss of our civilian case investigators in the latest budget cuts, officers on my team in Blandmore simply don't get time to pick up CCTV during hours when the premises is open, and most of them have a slew of outstanding statements to take, meaning many of the cases end up being filed instead of solved. We no longer have anyone to complete case file upgrades, or produce the daily stats for the superintendent, or analyse crime trends, and the guys who plan court warnings and day-to-day resources have so much work on that they are sending out duty changes for two weeks ago.
Instead of campaigning against civilianisation, which just leads to police officers being more and more heavily loaded with work (and work not getting done), the Fed should campaign for a reduction in the burden placed on the police by the courts and CPS, which is the cause for a lot of the paperwork. Plus the need to produce reams of pointless statistics for police.uk and the HMIC.
Still, having just missed our recent target to reduce the number of targets in Blandmore by 5.6%, the superintendent isn't particularly interested in anything the Fed has to say, on any subject. We are as far from performance and blame culture change as we ever were, and moving at a rate of knots.
I do hope the member of staff involved in the above story used the right terminology and documentation when recounting the tale to her colleagues. Otherwise we may shortly see a follow-up whereby a scenes of crime officer in Dorset Police is disciplined for insulting a disabled person and falsifying overtime claims.
Vivre la police.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.