Well it’s arrived (finally) and the government announce their austerity measures tomorrow…
Is this simply a routine public sector spending review to compensate for a national debt or, the eve of Public Service Armageddon, as many senior managers and political/financial commentators would have us believe?
Today we’ve heard about defence spending measures; some sensible and some not very popular at all. The early scrapping of HMS Ark Royal and the provision of new Royal Navy Aircraft carriers but without any planes to put on them due to cash shortages, to name just one measure. Keep your fingers crossed we don’t get another Islas Malvinas dispute again any time soon! So we have sight of the changes impacting upon international security, now for those which are likely to change the face of British policing for generations…
BBC News:Will cuts leave police fit for purpose? Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) sets out the challenges faced by forces up and down the country… “Chiefs are looking to protect all they can,” says Sir Hugh. “They’re doing much more collaboration across forces, flawed though that is, they are doing their level best against all the imponderables that throws up. “There’s no political will from any party to reform the basic building blocks of policing. It is realistic to expect some of the smaller forces may struggle hugely if it’s a massive [spending] hit.” (Read more)
The initial ACPO responses (via Sir Hugh) is entirely predictable after all, the Chiefs have been fighting their own corner of self-importance for years, usually to the total exclusion of any public requirements or overall service sustainability and importance. The fact that ACPO say any force collaboration processes are “flawed” is a prime example of their self-preservation ideology. They have continually argued that any police force amalgamation or regionalisation are ‘not in the public interest’. That in itself is ludicrous, the public don’t care about the cap badge worn by a police officer, they just want one when they need one!
For what seems like an age now, and certainly prior to any public spending austerity measures, large rafts of ‘service delivery’ officers, the Police Federation and service commentators, have been calling for comprehensive changes in police management and governance, to benefit the public. Most of these have continuously been dismissed out of hand by ACPO, the APA and various politicians. They have simply adopted a complacent, self-important and self-protecting pompous we know what the public need ethos.
Despite all the political and senior police officer rhetoric over recent months, I like many (see elsewhere within the blog) am still convinced comprehensive savings can be made in providing police services, without masive change or loss of ‘service delivery’ roles. I find it a little strange therefore that ACPO are suddenly starting to ‘warm’ to some of the more sensible measures now. It appears they may no longer able to wrap the government around their fingers, thankfully and not before time!
That said, Grahame Maxwell the Chief Constable of my local force has just announced ‘voluntary’ redundancy notices have been issued to his police staff. My only hope is that he is good to his word when the force and police authority say; “It does not include any of the force’s 1,547 police officers who cannot be made redundant because they are sworn officers of the Crown”. How long the officers are ‘safe’ remains to be seen!
BBC News: North Yorkshire Police has announced it is seeking volunteers for redundancy among its support staff as it braces itself for government spending cuts. The force expects budget cuts of 25% over the next four years in response to Wednesday’s Spending Review. A voluntary redundancy scheme was announced to all 1,427 staff on Monday. (Read more)
I love the way police management do these things, how they say that they are taking measures to ‘minimise’ the impact on ‘valuable’ staff. If that’s correct, why are members of NYP staff commenting the first they knew was when they saw a link to the news article on Facebook? Strange also that the information was available via the BBC news website this afternoon but not on the NYP website when I visited 5mins later. The release was there this evening though, with a release time of 11am today? Could it have been an administrative cock-up, for which the public sector are renowned?
Feeding the media before the staff (as usual) per chance, or is that just me being cynical again?
- HMS Ark Royal scrapped in review (bbc.co.uk)
- Cops and cuts (bbc.co.uk)
- The thinner blue line – police warning over 25% budget cut (guardian.co.uk)
- Police forces facing ‘deep cuts’ to number of frontline officers (guardian.co.uk)