Others have written some good blogs about direct entry, crime figures and the drop in officer numbers, but I thought I would offer something a little different.
I saw today that 11,500 officer posts have gone under the Tories, and I kind of expected that. I also expected them to say that crime was down therefore the ‘reform’ is working.
I have to be careful now as I know my figures but that would ID my force.
Six or seven years ago a good force detection rate would have been around 33%. Pats on the back all round. But as the police grew, the ability to proactively police increased, and if you turned over a person with drugs or a knife you get a detection.
But- in my opinion the biggest change was DNA evidence. Suddenly, for a few hundred pounds ( yes it’s not cheap) we began detecting all sorts of things – broken windows, assaults, and all sorts of minor offences. Now that money has gone, these things are ‘vetted’ and no longer will you get these forensic tests done automatically. Some will say that’s a better use of public money, but there is a problem. A big one.
At BCU level, the detection targets have steadily increased – all of a sudden they are talking about 50% being achievable ! 50 bloody per cent !!!
This is based on those proactive teams, officers being free to patrol, and forensic evidence. And that’s not all. Middle management are really piling the pressure on now, from supers to geographic inspectors, individuals are being scrutinised for crime decisions to the point where they are scared to crime something or being called ‘in person’ along with their supervision to account for it. Area commanders have simply over promised the public when it comes to crime.
I am also alarmed as I don’t think this is what ACPO at command level actually want.
How does this link to direct entry ?
I worked the private sector and I was involved in setting business targets for a large firm. Branch managers would meet with staff and actually talk about what was achievable. If we made a 2% rise in profit in year one, we would likely set the target at 0.5 to 1% above the next year. We simply weren’t stupid enough to say ‘ we grew 2% this year, so presumably that’s the same or more next year’ life isn’t like that. You look at the market and make a rational decision. Look at it like this- 2% + 1% = a 3% rise year on year. If your detection rate is 33% you DO NOT set the next one at 40% then 44, then 48%. Try 34% ! If you fall under then its a softer fall.
Police BCU’s have set targets that cannot be met or detections – unless you don’t crime certain things in the first place … And there’s the rub.
Less cops means they find less crime and those taking up the slack have no time to be proactive. Add the ‘no crime’ pressure and you have the perfect storm.
It’s not for me to say if a super should be from Tesco or Asda, but surely they would see our targets and give a realistic overview.
If you don’t overreach your targets, your troops can ethically record crime – after all PC’s get paid to decide if its a crime or we wouldn’t need them!
Pressure would decrease on the front line and there would be a more realistic reflection of reported crime in the first place. That’s what we want. It’s what the public want. As long as middle management have a ladder to climb this will never change. Maybe one day we will get a private sector commander who didn’t join the police at 22 and has never worked in the real world. That may be controversial but it might just be what we need.
If well rounded PC’s have some life experience then why not the Chief ?