British Policing: We need a Cunning Plan!

General Melchett“So what you are saying Blackadder is that we need someone with no knowledge of Policing, or people management, and little finance knowledge to oversee a Police Force? “Brilliant”, Right, I’m off to party with a box of frogs barrpppp!”

So commented one of my Facebook friends recently but although somewhat cynical, this joviality actually has a very serious message; it completely illustrates the methods being employed by our government in its efforts to ‘modernise’ British policing.

As the Police and Crime Commissioner elections fast approach, Mark Botham, Chairman of the North Yorkshire Police Federation, pointed out in his blog recently…

The challenges faced by British policing midway through 2012 and beyond  are so big it is beyond what politicians, senior managers, the Police Federation, the Superintendents Association, Chief Police Officers Staff Association, police staff trade unions or Police & Crime Commissioners can do on their own… (More)

Now all Generals usually have an overall strategy, it’s what they base their battle plans on and, without that strategy and planning, it’s unlikely they will fare well in warfare because, as any good soldier knows; failing to plan is planning to fail.

I think it’s fair to expect that our politicians should also have a strategy and plans, ones designed to improve things for the future of all within our society.  But as our political leadership lurches from one crisis to the next, attempting to combat them with knee-jerk reactions and hastily contrived rhetoric, I for one can’t imagine in reality that they actually have a strategy, let alone plans.

Despite the quantity and quality of leadership role models throughout our history, the vast majority of our politicians wallow in the here and now of self-importance, self-indulgence and self-protection. It’s all a big game of public relations and marketing hype, offering up rafts of ideas and/or promises that are designed to be easily broken, as and when required.

What we need is one of Baldrick‘s cunning plans but not one developed from limited knowledge, small ideas or short-sighted politically based ideals.

But as Capt. Blackadder said of small plans delivered by small-minded individuals, I can’t help worrying the plan, no matter how cunning, is destined for ultimate failure in the long-term. The thought process and drivers behind many of the current police reform proposals are broadly similar!

Baldrick’s brain, like the grey matter owned by much of our political leadership in the UK was aptly described by Blackadder; “It’s so minute, Baldrick, that if a hungry cannibal cracked your head open, there wouldn’t be enough to cover a small water biscuit… Cameron, May and now Winsor should take note!

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