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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Thursday, April 07, 2011

From Neyroud to Zero

If the Neyroud Report has passed you by, cast your eye over it here.  Peter Neyroud thinks that police officers should qualify via a foundation degree, paid for by themselves whilst serving as Special Constables, before joining the "profession" of constable, which by the way would include an annual fee for the privilege of being allowed to practice.  

Word is that David Cameron rather likes this idea, and is pushing for it to be adopted, although right now it's just a rather expensive report concluding that a rather expensive total re-hash of the police is just what we need in these beleaguered times.

I haven't had time to read the recommendations, and probably never will.  I'm too busy trying to resource Blandmore, gee up my team of morale-busted, world-weary PCs, and work out whether I really will be better off next year, as Tom Winsor would have me believe, or worse off, as my A-Level in Maths insists.

Like many other forces, Blandshire Constabulary has decided that now is a good time to totally renovate its structure, and is hanging the changes on the banner of budget cuts, when the truth is they were dreamt up some years ago when a new Chief Constable took over.  In actual fact we had quite a cost-effective structure until Monday, with most of the wastage seemingly originating at HQ.  Now HQ has expanded its bureaucracy, and on area money is being hurled in all directions as superintendents play tug-of-war with the best sergeants, inspectors and panda cars, all wanting them for their own brand new empires.

The only thing reassuring me is that I am not alone.  Officers in West Midlands (above link), Kent, Surrey, Thames Valley, Gadget's force, and quite possibly every other force in the UK that I don't have time to Google, are all talking about the same thing.  Restructures that don't save a penny, performance culture persisting, deckchairs being rearranged, and all the time the squeeze on the front-line continues.

There's a contradiction here with my last post.  There just isn't the appetite to actually cut the things we could do without, and so it lands on the front-line and on the public.  

When you look at the Neyroud Report, and you realise it was written by an ex-Chief Constable, who was once a PC, and a sergeant, and an inspector, it makes you wonder: if he doesn't understand the fundamental office of Constable, what hope has the Home Secretary?  

NB If you're one of the people sitting at home thinking, maybe it would be better if the police force WAS staffed by professional types, consider whether you'd want to hire a doctor, lawyer or architect to deal with any of the following situations.

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


Blogger Old BE said...

Well of course when the Met was first set up, "gentlemen" were banned from serving because it was believed that policemen needed to be prepared to be rough in order to be able to realistically confront the bad people.

07 April, 2011 16:02

Blogger English Pensioner said...

Of course, if you are all professionals, you would expect the pay of a doctor, lawyer or architect.
I wonder if anyone has thought it through.

07 April, 2011 18:34

Anonymous Bradders0159 said...

I have been following your blog and others for a while now, and as a applicant awaiting a start date I am seriously considering abandoning my application. I don't want to join an organisation that lacks cohesion and continuity with all it's parts pulling in diferent directions. Please tell me why don't you organise yourselves to say enough is enough publicly? I am personally fed up with hearing such negative Police centered press reports. Why do you let it happen? Stand up for yourselves and stop taking it on the chin.....

07 April, 2011 20:27

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a serving constable. I have no faith, trust, confidence etc in the management of the Police Force. I am part of the problem because i have been conditioned to perpetuate the untruths that all is rosy in the garden.

I do not believe there is anyone of the rank of Chief Inspector and above who i would trust. My experience, though brief, of these hubs is something akin to Hitlers delusional commands from his bunker, ordering non-existent armies to battle.

We live in a democracy, cough, all i can do is vote for an independent and none of the 3 main political gangs. Bitter, disillusioned, and about to become a uniform carrier on the basis of a predictable bashing on all fronts by treacherous leeches.

I wish i could say i had the worst morale at my nick.

07 April, 2011 20:52

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I and every member of my shift has a Degree, one has a Masters. None of which helps us in the day to day job of policing. I see local folk keen to join but who fail the academically oriented tests whereas some of those who do succeed..........all want to climb the greasy pole asap. There simply isn't the room for that many to be promoted.
The Management have become bullying in their approach to things like shift patterns, postings, etc. As our Chief COnstable is rumoured to have said "if you don't like it, get a job at Tescos".
Morale hits rock bottom.

07 April, 2011 21:08

Blogger Unknown said...

Add Cheshire to your list of deckchair organizers. They Ballooned thier HR last year with Yet Another Director, while cutting some jobs at the same time. Senior Officers explained that Jobs would be selected based on skills, while they actualy meant that jobs were saved decided upon favour and empire building.

Cheshire Pol thinks its an International Company with Directirs and HR Structure, the Blue LIne thinks it's a Police Force. Something is not joined up.

New Helicopter, Shooting Range, a devolvement of Call-Center Staff and in order to preserve their sad asses, they are now talking of joining up with Cumbria, N-Wales and Gtr Manchester, yet when we could have done that and saved money, Cheshire Pol simply spent all they had in case...

Not gonna mention New Uniforms, closing Pol Stations, or Kennels, but your aware of that already. Good Luck Ellie, nice blog.

08 April, 2011 10:11

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

Bradders, what you forget is that we're all busy rushing about to 999 calls, dealing with stacks of crime reports, and trying to do the job we joined for. Police officers are not supposed to have public opinions, that's what we rely on the Fed for. If it were easy to stand up and be heard, some of us wouldn't need to blog.

08 April, 2011 11:15

Anonymous painauchocolat said...

Pete - I think you'll find Ellie has been in the press rather a lot, "saying something". I believe she's also been on the telly.

So it looks like your questionning of her "guts" is misplaced. And, having read about some of the situations Ellie has had to deal with serving the public, I think questionning her "guts" is a little disingenious too!

08 April, 2011 12:55

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add Lancs to the list of empire building.

We are currently going through a 'reorganisation' and rather than take the time to properly reorganise and change things for the better instead we are just cutting back between 15-20% of each department (including front line response).

The ACPO ranks have commissioned 45 seperate reviews of each department and you can imagine the chaos that this is reeking. Each review conducted blind to what the next is doing so that as one cuts resources to place the burden onto some other department it does the same and you can guess where the merry-go-round has stopped - front line uniformed officers - more paperwork, less support from the back office, more days at work and less pay.

Who would want to pay to do that job?

08 April, 2011 15:46

Anonymous Retired Dinosaur said...

"We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were begining to form into teams, we would be re-organised.
I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by re-organising, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation."

Who said that? The Roman General Gaius Petronius in A.D.66. And still the morons haven't learned.

I would also give some good advice to Bradders0159. I served from the 1960s to the 1990s. For the fist twenty years or so I was proud of serving in the job but in the last few years it moved rapidly away from what I had been taught was the right thing to do. Victims had become irrelevant and their suffering ignored whilst offenders were to be treated as fallen little angels in need of redemption. Protecting my back from the bad guys was one thing but when I and my colleagues were spending more time doing that from our own PC bosses it was quite another. The bad guy was always right and I and my colleagues wrong. My son, in his late twenties considered joining the job but after I told him the horrible truth he soon changed his mind. That was well over a decade ago and since then, from my inside information, things have only got far worse.

Would I advise anybody to join now? If it were the same job I joined all those years ago I would say yes. As the job is now? Personally I would suggest working in a sewage farm would be a better option because at least you know where the stench of rot is coming from.

08 April, 2011 17:07

Blogger Stressed Out Cop said...

I hear there is also consideration to Cluster Hubs in the Metropolis -so no way will you be policing locally.

One Insp for the Hub Shift covering several OCU's - Too many critical incident balls will be juggled and who will get the blame when it goes wrong?

As the SMT member pointed out to me last week when I pointed out my workload had doubled in the last year with the loss of a 2nd Insp on shift - "Oh Well - You'll just have to manage like WE always do" -
No mate, WE have to manage not you !! Will you support me when the balls drop?

08 April, 2011 18:15

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PC Bloggs, I was just wondering what your honest opinion of specials was? Is it such a bad thing that new recruits have to prove themselves by joining and working for free?

08 April, 2011 19:31

Anonymous bradders0158 said...

PC Bloggs, my comment was a genuine question and not a criticism as it may have appeared. Obviously you have done more than most and that is fantastic. Many officers I would imagine will just want to do there job.

I am just concerned that there appears to be a plethora of negative police stories in the press, and the Police seemed to be fighting between themselves. It is clear that it is socially acceptable to hate the Police and I wonder why a concerted effort to inform the public what the Police actually do for them and what they may potentially be about to lose isn't happening.

Speaking as a member of the public it isn't visibility thats an issue it's confidence that the Police will a) turn up b) actually do something c)convict somebody d) the penalty will be appropriate.

As for recruitment my recent experience over the last three years has been unbeleivably, ridiculously unprofesional. Why does it take so long? Why isn't there continuity throughout the forces. The irony of being graded on customer and community focus when I have been treated so appalingly is truly shocking. So, any improvement will be better than the current system however I worry that you will end up with a system similar to nursing ie the Police version of 'too posh to wash'

09 April, 2011 11:46

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It’s a bit like the first world war. Staff officers and generals way behind the lines ,making grand decisions with little or no thought for the troops.

The decent senior officers (there are a few) are far outweighed by the idiots on the promotion ladder.

ACPO refuse to stand up for their staff in case it affects their career (Sussex Chief Constable in early 2000’s effectively sacked by the Home Secretary for standing by his officers). The government don’t mind the negative press because it helps in their bid to win public support in their impending fight against police terms and conditions.

Once we were only accountable to the law, now we seem to be accountable to everyone with and uninformed opinion.

There are still a few decent cops out there who remember the old days, but they are far outweighed by the idiots who have only known political correctness (when it suits their careers) and back stabbing.

09 April, 2011 13:02

Anonymous Retired Sgt said...

The problem with a "profession" such as doctors architects etc is that it is almost exclusively a middle class closed shop.You have to go to Uni pick up huge debts undergo professional training whilst earning peanuts(ask a pupil barrister) and if you can survive this then you can go on to earn hopefully megabucks but the whole system from Uni through to training is militated against anyone from a working class background-they wouldn't fit in don't you see and would end up ordering a Chardonnay with the steak!!!!One of the great strengths of the police over the years has been its ability to recruit from all walks of life and to every one a chance to get on according to ability.Now ACPO which consists of University educated middle class white types has decided that the wough howwible working class are not fit to be police officers and that all police officers must be degree educated(at their own expense) and be ACPO clones with a nice easy administrative system of getting rid of anyone who does not conform.
The police service is supposed to represent the population it serves.It is not some nice little club where you can black ball people if you don't like them.If.I have seen loads of graduates fall apart at the first wiff of public order and join the scramble for the 925 jobs.Police officers need to be thief takers and criminal haters.Finally nursing has been made a degree entry profession-with the result that people are dying on wards due to malnutrition and thirst and hospital acquired infections whilst lying in their own piss shit and vomit because after all those nice people with degrees can't be expected to deal with howwid dirty patients can they?

09 April, 2011 14:39

Anonymous NottsSarge said...

Once again I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with Retired Sgt...
One of the best things about this job was that it drew from a varied cross-section of society. I know senior cops who left school at 16, I know graduates who will be PCs for their entire service.
Unfortunately these days the upper ranks tend to be clones who have all subscribed to the same doctrines, regardless of what common sense and their eyes and ears (should they deign to open them) are telling them.
Reorganisation gives the illusion of progress to those involved, to those affected it seems entirely retrograde.
My 2 degrees have educated me sufficiently to spot bullshit when I see it, it must be Staff College that teaches you how to turn that faculty off, especially in the current climate.

11 April, 2011 23:37

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say to bradders0158 that,
a) if we are needed, we turn up, might not be the very second the call is made, but we get there.
b) we do something.
c) COURTS convict. Police gather evidence to put to courts, who then make the decision to convict or not.
d) Appropriate penalties - again, it is the courts who decide, not the Police, and I am not including Police Cautions/Reprimands/Final Warnings here.
If you get in, you will see. Perhaps you should look elsewhere, you sound hugely bitter already....

17 April, 2011 05:00

Anonymous Ted said...

Policing needs reasonable intelligence, moral and physical courage, and basic literacy and numeracy. It is alway dangerous to generalise but I found degree educated cops no better at the job than anyone else. In fact if I was told I could have worked with a random choice one of the degree educated cops I knew or one of the ex forces cops I'd have had no hesitation in going for an ex forces cop.

17 April, 2011 14:08

Anonymous Bubblelisa said...

I finally joined the job at the fine age of 34yrs. I applied 13yrs before that but was told that to be a police officer I needed to be a quarter of an inch taller. So I joined the forces to get life experience. I went to war twice in that time and feel sure that I bring more to the force than a spotty teenager who has done a 2 year diploma and knows nothing at all about life. After serving my country I became a step-mum and delayed joining until my partners daughter was old enough for me to go to residential training. The implications of these recommendations will prevent the recruitment of people like me. I am now an Inspector with 10yrs service and last week I actually thought of packing it all in and dog walking full time!!! It is sad really that all I ever wanted to do was be a Police Officer, but after the incidents of disorder wreaked by the new youth in this country I feel saddened that I feel this way about something I have such passion for...and because I am trying my damndest to support and coach 38 members of support staff facing redundancy I have to post my feelings on a blogg.....sad state of affairs.

30 August, 2011 18:26

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks. Sorry, but you some of you have lost the plot! Yes, it's a difficult job. And yes, it get's increasingly so. Of course we can feel under fire and of course it can be a thankless job. But two things. 1. Remember why you joined the job. I joined to look after innocent folks and lock up guilty ones. NOTHING will let me lose that purpose. I won't let it. 2. It might be tough but we are bloody lucky! We cant be sacked or made redundant unless we are grossly negligent or criminal. Look around you. How many other people can say that?
Life is too short to do a job you don't enjoy and the public deserve better. If you feel like this, then guess what? It leaks! It will show the next time you deal with someone who really needs your help.
Not happy? Go find another job.

23 February, 2012 22:13


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