Who Would You Rather Lose?

So now public sector workers are fair game for pay freezes until they match their regions private sector levels.  Our armed services are losing good people to more attractive pay guarding ships from pirates.  Our cops, if they have any sense, will be applying to Canada, Australia or the EU if they speak anything other than English.  John Yates is no doubt on a good bung in Bahrain, where his ability to turn a blind eye will be useful.  I am also off to sell my skills abroad, though this won’t extend to ignoring torture.

Public servants in the UK can expect pay cuts to bring them in line with the Chinese-serf levels the private sector manages through its innovation, creativity and competition.  The rich, meantime want more and more or they will all go abroad leaving the country they ‘owe allegiance’ to to sink to its knees.  Who do you think we can afford to lose – skilled professionals in health care and the public sector and armed services, or a bunch of shits who think they are so special the deserve salaries that amount to more than a life’s earnings for most?  I rather gave my own view away there!

I think we should have a cull of those allowed vast wealth now – I’m rather against killing people off, but we could just strip them out of our system at around £80K a year equivalents and give them three months to settle elsewhere with their in demand skills.  Rooney would no doubt leave his ‘beloved’ Manchester United and City have to put out the youth team, but who cares – do we really think we  haven’t got replacement talent to run the necessary show?

Even in the “industries” (like children’s games played by men) where the best have to prove themselves on level playing fields on open display, there is no need for the absence of reasonable salary caps (this just removes the competition via money element).  When you can hire bent accountants to “prove” success it’s even worse.  I’d be happier to live amongst people who accept reasonable pay and wealth retention as part of an obligation to everyone else, than grasping Einsteins (which they ain’t) prepared to live off the backs of everyone else – where will they be if we go to war – next to you in the trenches or suddenly off on holiday to neutral territory?

I understand “modern economics” and have seen how little benefit those on big  pay bring, and how the wealth is manipulated through various offshore, transfer pricing dodges, land and mineral theft and the rest.  We can do better than this pornographic society and have the technology to rebuild from the bottom-up, embodying management knowledge into a machine utility needing regulation.

In Bahrain, a colleague was asked to prevent an IT system operating at a particular point so a favoured bureaucrat could make decisions. A bit like the days when police investigation systems produced format (more or less wordperfect) incompatible with prosecution systems – with the outputs needing re-typing.  We are doing this over and again in management and finance, largely to allow fraud and the high-paying jobs of the machine overseers whose skills are obsolete.  The last successful innovation in financial services was the ATM.  Give me decent cops, soldiers, nurses and doctors to form a community with, not money-grubbing creeps selling bags with the smell of cakes, or bananas produced at subsistence wages at a price inflated by offshore management dodges to ten times the price that would provide a fair wage for pickers, transport and retailing.

The truth about most work is that it is routinised and we need to share it under fair exchange and regulation.  We have failed to organise a fair global society, yet insist that management organisation is so good its worth 150 times the reasonable salary we can’t pay our  soldiers or public sector workers.  In science, stuck with a core research programme as dud as this we’d abandon it.


We Could Do Better On Crime Statistics


This is a link to a thoughtful criticism of Canadian crime statistics – worth a read for ideas on what might be wrong with ours and statistics generally.

Crime has been coming down across most of the EU, Britain, the USA and Canada for a decade.  Citizens generally don’t believe this to be the case.  Yet some of the crime that is down would be hard to dispute – homicide volume is the classic.  It’s hard to think cops around the world have become adept at hiding the bodies.

My own street has been almost completely peaceful since the removal of a dire couple of druggies who have caused trouble in spades wherever they have lived and continue to do so where they are now.  Prison makes no difference, except in the time they are off the street.  In the US people like them spend more time in jail.  Removing them from our society and their children might reduce our crime a great deal and prevent the ‘generational effect’.  Decent statistics (partly as argued in the Canadian article) would give us a clear idea.  The guess is that about 100,000 of these bastard homes exist.  If the significance of each is as strong as the one once next to us and getting rid of them as significant, then incarceration would make a massive difference, unless others would just emerge in the wake.  This could be tested too.

One reason given for the drop in US crime has been legalised abortion – the likely criminals getting an early death sentence.  Crude as this seems we should pursue a structuralist analysis of our offenders.

Across the world, the purpose of police statistics seems to be to tell the public crime is falling.  It’s pretty obvious from education to banking that false-accounting is rife, as is image management.

Police are presumably better organised and using better technology than ever before – this may be building a genuine deterrent effect or set of them.  My feeling is  crime is actually shifting, just as my former neighbours moved and into new categories.  Insurance rates against crime are not falling.  The statisticians don’t deal us a full deck.

Sad ‘News’ On Police Numbers – But Be Wary



We have news today of substantial reductions in police numbers.  I believe our police are inefficient and often fail the people they should be protecting, but I don’t welcome any of this cutting – much as predicted by thinblueline long ago.  In the weird way economics works we can’t ‘afford’ any of the public sector cuts.  The cuts can be found in a link above on ‘austerity’ and the research the claim that a 10% reduction will lead to a 3% increase in crime in the other link.  What was actually said in that research follows:

3. The weight of evidence is strengthened by the fact that the extant studies use a
variety of methods. However the causal claims made by many of them are
somewhat doubtful, and care should be taken when interpreting the results.
4. Most of these recent studies converge on two key findings:
a. Higher levels of police are linked to lower levels of property crime.
Evidence for an association between police numbers and violent crime is
b. A summary of existing studies would put the elasticity of property crime
in relation to police numbers at approximately -0.3 – that is, a 10 per cent
increase in officers will lead to a reduction in crime of around 3 per cent
(and vice versa). ‘Conclusion’ at this stage is a misnomer. Despite the apparent consistency of recent research it is too early to say, for all the reasons given above, that there is a direct causal link between higher numbers of police and lower crime. Considerably more work would need to be done before such a claim could be made. In particular, more work is needed on the difference in the (potential) effect of specific, large-scale changes in deployment patterns due to terrorist attacks and other shocks, and that of general numbers of police or arrest rates averaged across a large number of areas. A related task is to locate the boundary between marginal changes in numbers – which go unnoticed – and gross changes – which can have a marked impact on crime. What seems fair to say, however,is that there is relatively strong evidence for the potential of an effect of police numbers on crime, particularly with regard to property and other acquisitive forms of offending.

In plainer words, we don’t know the links between police numbers and crime.

Many people have become fed-up with our public services generally and we hear a great deal about how much better they would be in the hands of the much more efficient private sector.  This is that private sector that sends jobs abroad, ‘pays’ a few people fortunes and turns out to have been involved in all kinds of excess and inefficiency the tax payer has had to fund and hasn’t finished funding.

We need more police not less and there is a labour force with nothing else to do waiting to do the job.  “Economics” means we can’t go down this route.  Police inefficiency is due to factors across the CJS and our society generally – yet the ‘only means’ to fix this is to sack a load of people – most trying their best.

The idea of a link between police numbers and crime is silly.  Roughly speaking, British Leyland might have needed 60 workers to produce one car and a modern plant 6 – yet the new plant has all kinds on innovation and investment.  Copperfield has made this point in comparing his jobs here and in Canada.  There are clearly likely to be many links between police numbers, investment, system improvements and social conditions and crime.

Factories wiped out people and yet increased production – but this was nearly always because of new machines and improved business processes.  Whilst I believe we need radical economic solutions to much wider problems, police staff could have been offered other solutions, such as wage cuts and salary caps to cope with the cuts.

The real issues of crime and policing it remain unaddressed.  In terms of increases in crime, the collapse of world economics is likely to be a bigger factor than any redundancies in police staff.  It is doubtful that police really prevent crime as many anti-social crime incidents merely repeat because the intervention of agencies is so useless anyway.  Doubling or halving useless action is not likely to lead to change.  If police could attend Pilkington-like incidents and stop them more officers would not be needed – as they can’t stop the jerks involved prevention would entail vast presence and number increase to prevent by presence.

This kind of sacking to make cuts is stupid in a world in which the private sector cannot take up the slack.  Apart from anything else, those officers left in post will be over-paid against the norms now – the salary cap and pay cut route presents much more value for the tax payer and for the poor sods who lose their jobs and probably for those left with increasing demand.

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.