Shambles Management…

A sign in the Shambles of York, England descri...
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Like other police forces across the country, North Yorkshire Police (NYP) has had to implement several changes recently, in light of the “significant'” budget deficit.

The raft of measures being forced through at present may have been born out of government austerity measures however; it is still somewhat crass and dishonest for Chief Constables to try to lay all the blame at the doors of government, this time.

The original government instructions, and initial subsequent chief officer rhetoric was all about “preserving the frontline”, a commodity non could actually define at the time. Now Senior Management Teams (SMT) keep trying to ease the pain of the ‘frontline’ cuts with terms like a “range of efficiency measures” or, “we are confident we can do more with less” in their response to media and/or public questioning, this amounts to little more than ‘window dressing’ a dire situation. Police PR output appears to be all about fictitious claims about efficiency and planning, along with a stream of platitudes attempting to disguise the reality of a poor situation.

Hot on the heals of the NYP control room closure announcement earlier in the week, we now hear that a Front counters review brings in changes.

“Residents can be assured that North Yorkshire Polices commitment to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour remains as strong as ever, and we recognise that the right level of front counter services across North Yorkshire and the City of York is an important part to supporting this objective.” (ACC Tim Madgwick)

I find it hard to see any connection between a change in enquiry office hours and the perceived ‘positive’ impact upon anti-social behaviour however, this piece was immediately followed by yet another ‘triumphant announcement’ about the new public facing facility in Whitby. Apparently this also emphasises the NYP “commitment”…

“The opening of the new harbour office is a clear indication of the commitment we have to the communities we serve. We are currently reshaping the way in which the public access policing services across North Yorkshire and the City of York to improve the service we provide.” (ACC Tim Madgwick

It’s all well and good having a ‘commitment’ to ‘serving’ the community and, ‘reducing crime and fear of crime’ however, when all these stated commitments often don’t bear fruitful reality what really is the point?

Police management continues lurching from one mess to another with a damage limitation ethos. An attempt to persuade the tax payer that things aren’t actually as bad as they appear to be and hopefully, make them think the management of their police force is actually in the hands of competent and skillful leaders? Perhaps finally, despite all the carefully worded smokescreens of PR spin, the British public are actually starting to see some of the public sector realities?

The reorganisation, process change and management restructuring of police services has been continuous for 30+ years. Most of it has been little more than sidesteps to avoid grasping the nettles. Perhaps the ‘S’ in SMT is actually taken from that famous street in the City of York bearing the same name?