Whirlwind From Police Cuts?

GMP is looking at cutting 3,100 jobs, including maybe 1500 warranted officers.  If, for the sake of argument this can be done without serious damage to frontline quality, this suggests quite massive failures in previous management -a police authority and SMT presiding over serious waste of public money.  This should hardly give us much faith in the same senior people being able to come up with the right answers now.

It’s very difficult to spot any sense of ‘reform’ ideas amongst our police.  Copperfield, now working in Canada, has suggested that cuts of this magnitude, along with sensible use of technology and procedural changes through what we might call business process analysis can be sustained along with improvement.  I tend to believe he is right and that inept management in our CJS has been a severe problem.  I say this because Britain is generally bad at productivity.  The police may be an exception.

Reorganisations in the UK tend to fail.  The ‘answers’ have been to bring market disciplines and shift from existing industries to others deemed more profitable, with no real sign much happens other than the loss of industry-sectors, skill bases and conditions of service.  Management empires burgeon, along with Soviet-style performance management creatures, statistical lying and the removal of what little effective complaint systems were in place.

The current public sector cuts do not seem to come as part of any strategic plan (I mean a genuine one, not that Mumbo-Jumbo about mission statements clown managers qualified by a sip of patent management development medicine think is intelligent).  Most organisations can be made more efficient by removing LOMBARDS, cutting people, wages, removing layers of rank and cash-limits.  Property can also be sold off.

One of the keys in ‘right-sizing’ is that the people left will work harder and establish a learning curve that  makes the work manageable over time.  Quite brutal outside management is usually brought in to do this.  I forget the figures now, but the take over of the Imperial Group was a massive success of this type.  One hardly sees one of today’s Hansons trying to take over policing though.

I fear for the health and safety of front-line police officers as this crude slash and burn tactic is dealt with by managers who have so clearly failed to identify necessary changes in the past, or even been able to speak up  about what was going wrong.  A new Channel 4 programme, ‘Cops’, may even top Gadget on what many officers feel is going wrong, and at least some faces will not be pixilated.

I have little doubt much of our criminal justice could be more summary and fairer, and much of our street policing more decisive.  What I would have expected with the announcement of the cuts is some general strategy from government.  It is quite obvious that police have not been able to speak about their real problems in a constructive manner and have not been able to ‘learn lessons’ at managerial level.  I fear a whirlwind and that the brunt will be borne by victims and street-officers.

4 thoughts on “Whirlwind From Police Cuts?

  1. For the last few months now I have contributed to the debates on police cuts (aka reform) via linkedin etc. The forum (supposedly) involves all the ‘movers & shakers’ in the prosess however, the same old same old arguments have consistently been dribbled out.

    Will the turkeys vote for Christmas finally? No bloody chance! They just carry on trotting out the rhetoric in an atempt to disguise their previous failings. My last comment on the ‘leadership’ thread was;

    “As one of those who spent all his service subjected to police trained ‘leaders’ I have to say; I could actually count on one hand those ‘leaders’ that inspired me, that I trusted, or who I could respect and I’m sure I’m not alone in that view. If we are really talking about the values and skills required in our leaders, as opposed to pontential for fast tracks to the top, isn’t that actually a sad indictment about the calibre and quality of leadership we are producing?”

    • Yes, Mr G. During a `command course` I was partaking in at the Police Staff College, I did politely ask why there was no mention of the word `leadership` anywhere in the course literature or classes. I had the most unenlightening and nebulous of answers that drove me to the excellent lake, where I spent as much time as I could , thereafter, fishing for tench.

  2. ACO: I’m sure the talented civil servants and top managers will follow in the footsteps of their peers, leaving the police in the position of, say, two expensive aircraft carriers, both of which will be minus the necessary aircraft and one of which they will immediately sell to India. It might be better than nothing, but it will certainly be a lot more expensive

  3. A classic example of ‘thinking with feet’ Hoggie. I’ve lost track now of the times and places around the world I’ve done the same, usually with a bottle of something. In a shipyard example, I was designated to teach the very platitudinous crap that was sending us down the drain as though it was the elixir of life. On ‘aircraft carriers to India’, I suspect the ‘plan’ may always have been this and an agreement they will sort out Pakistan and the North-western Frontier (once very much Indian). Japan did rather well as a manufacturing supplier to a war zone, and this may now be our growth model.
    Banksie describes my own ‘sufferings’. I do believe the policing problems extend beyond the overpaid clowns and into malaise in the ranks that has become corrupt rather just daily humour.
    Leadership is now a DoubleSpeak word meaning its opposite.

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