I always wonder what waste is – at least in terms of company and national financing. My diabetic foot and retinal screening were combined today – mutually good for me and the NHS. Killing me off would be a greater saving, but we don’t go there, If we think about making 30,000 or so police officers and staff redundant we may feel there will be a benefit in paying less for policing. The claim any of this can be done simply by cutting numbers from ‘admin’ is proven false over and again in research – there has to be a ‘re-engineering’ and we seem short of information on what this is to be, so I suspect ‘suck it and see’.
What we also hear nothing about in respect of police numbers is what will happen to those who lose their jobs and those who would have entered the work had the chance been there. There is plenty we could look at. What do miners, shipyard, mill machinists and steel workers and those who once would have been do now? There are at least 7.6 million of working age not working. Wales, NI, and the North generally still have high rates of unemployment and high rates of public employment. There was no private sector cavalry. There is a lot of evidence that investment fled abroad and that a housing bubble kept us afloat on debt spending, public and private. I believe this was an intentional gerrymandering of our demographic, along with immigration.
Police officers and staff are likely to have transferable skills and the ones I taught in HE were ahead of the pack if not generally outstanding. I think most will fare well – but this isn’t the end of the matter as they displace others who won’t get jobs. In research done in the US, 3 million jobs that could have been kept if workers had more power would still be there if it had not become so easy for employers to control costs through sacking workers and exporting work. My rule of thumb estimate of the same in the UK is proportionately higher at over 1 million.
People in the now high unemployment blackspots were not notoriously lazy before the unemployment came. I’ve worked all over the world, but seen no opportunities for general employees and its hard to move even in this country for those without skills in demand = employers were once prepared to fund the movement of employees. Police and public sector workers put out of work are likely to displace others rather than end up on the scrap heap, but I think they will be surprised at what’s (not) on offer in northern and Welsh job centres when they first look.
It makes no sense to lose the resource that the officers and staff represent, but of course economics makes no sense and probably isn’t meant to. These cruel to be kind austerity tricks are just cruel tricks. The money to invest in our own people is still there – and probably off to a dirty deal in Chinese ‘high yield’ bonds as I write – a repeat by the banksters of their previous securitized fraud that leaves favoured few with the good stuff and us lumbered with the toxic. Now there’s something that should gainfully employ 30,000 police officers and staff! They don’t put it to us in such terms now do they? The Chinese bonds are a way of selling us out from under, and yet issued on the basis of “capital” no country ever issues. It’s stuff like this that creates the need to slash our public services.
There are times when our normal industries have to give up labour – war times. Productivity increases is another – but why have we found so satisfactory way to redeploy ourselves, even if only to leisure? And it’s much worse if we look to Chinese working conditions. Work is not a blessing – that’s what earnings are. We should be on a four day week by now and employing more people to do what needs doing. And it should be around rules like this that the world competes. For the last 30 years there have been enough people unemployed to double some public services, including policing. The question should be why we can’t do this and continue to believe in a system that makes a few so rich they are the de facto government.
I often despair at the workings of our public sector and we might consider private sector additions to it. If management is as creative as it claims when setting its own pay, it should be able to sort things out. The current situation is immoral and based on feudal notions of labour. Every job I’ve had in this country since 1980 has been subject to down-sizing and the rotten feelings this brings, Down-sizing became right-sizing and is now all to do with accounting that rivals that of the Enclosures. Wages would have risen substantially in line with productivity since 1982 if they were linked to it. The truth is the opposite. Those police left in post can expect to work harder for less.