Guest Blog: The MPS Local Policing Model – Ademan Deloya

The Local Policing Model, the Metropolitan Police Service’s new way of doing everything, is in place across most of London now and, more or less exactly as many people predicted (including me, here: http://wp.me/p2T48h-y), it is failing. Unfortunately, all of the fine ideas and clever acronyms and gloriously proliferated layers of management and supervision are balanced on the shoulders of not even nearly enough officers actually doing the work that matters: answering calls and investigating crimes. Response teams can be relied upon to run out of units within an hour or two of the start of a late turn (the busiest shifts), because the system is not built with any tolerance to cope with a single major incident, or even a moderately warm Saturday. Call handling target times are being missed, and morale has fallen off a cliff.

Already, senior management types are fiddling with the system. Plans such as having a few night duty officers come in early to cover the handover periods are, I’m told, in the offing, but this will not deal with the real problem. The handover period is not the issue; the whole shift is the issue. There are not enough police officers available to deal with the amount of work that is there to be done. No amount of card-shuffling is going to alter that fact. Quite aside from which, what are these non-core officers going to be driving? A couple of those spare cars we keep hanging around the nick? Yeah, right. If it’s there and it’s even nearly roadworthy, it’s already being used.

Now, I have not had my head under a rock for the past five years. I, like everyone else in the service, am acutely aware that we are not likely to get our ranks swelled any time soon. So we have to find another way of solving this problem. It seems a matter of simple mathematics to me that, if there is too much work for the number of people doing it, and you can’t increase the number of people doing it, you have to reduce the amount of work being done. In this case, the only pragmatic way of doing that is by reversing the seemingly irresistible blossoming of our remit. Most of the time it is perfectly possible to determine at the call-handling stage what is likely to require a police presence and what is not. Unfortunately, the culture recently has been one of “send a unit, just in case”. This seems like logic, looked at only on a case-by-case basis. It always seems preferable to send a unit than not to, in case it kicks off. But the cumulative effect of all of these individual decisions is the drip-drip-drip of mission creep, and it swamps the service. Officers spend so much of their time dealing with every argument, landlord-tenant dispute, civil dispute and neighbourly-bout-of-mutual-toy-hurling that genuine victims of genuine crimes too often get lost in the shuffle.

We do not help ourselves, either, by taking it upon ourselves to be the “service of last resort” for every other public service. In the odd whimsical moment, I toy with the idea of sending an outstanding call – let’s say a domestic – across to the London Ambulance Service, and saying “We have no units to deal at present, can you please attend this call, assess the scene, and let us know if we need to send a unit, and then wait there for our arrival?” Just to see what they’d say. I suspect I would be answered with a richly deserved invitation to jog on. And yet when the reverse happens, we routinely go. Send a unit, just in case. A man’s fallen over in the street? A ten-year old child won’t stop throwing things around the house? The landlord won’t fix the washing machine? Send a unit, just in case. It has to stop. Budget cuts are affecting everyone. But we allow the staffing problems of our partner agencies to become our staffing problems, because we do not seem to employ anyone with the courage to say “No, that is not a police matter, we barely have enough people to do our own work, we cannot do yours for you,” and we certainly do not employ anyone with the courage to say “We are not here to sort out all your problems for you, I’m sure your landlord is perfectly horrid but it is absolutely none of our business.”

If we could manage this, as a pleasant bonus, we might even find morale improving. I, like many others in this job, did not become a police officer because I woke up one morning with a burning desire to be a cross between a social worker, a relationship counsellor, an Approved Mental Health Professional and a paramedic. Police officers, at heart, want to deal with crime. An honest, public conversation needs to be had at the highest levels, on the subject of what we are entitled to expect from our police services, given the resources that we intend to devote to them. A refocusing of police resources back towards what Peel had in mind might give the police enough time to do their core business properly, and might even reinvigorate a tired, cynical workforce. The alternative, our current course of playing financial Jenga with the police, married to the culture of “send a unit, just in case”, leaves us sleepwalking towards disaster.

Ademan Deloya’s blog can be found at http://ademandeloya.wordpress.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at @AdemanDeloya

About MinimumCover

UK Police Officer and Blogger View all posts by MinimumCover

15 responses to “Guest Blog: The MPS Local Policing Model – Ademan Deloya

  • Steelriverboy

    Excellent blog, and bang on the money. I can’t speak for the Met, but our call handlers are told to send a police officer if the caller requests one. This makes for the argument of putting officers back in control rooms. They are the ones in the best position to decide whether an incident is a police matter or not. I know that’s not an option, given the current climate, but I think it would make sense. It would certainly help to reduce the number of incidents we attend unnecessarily.

    • AdemanDeloya

      Well, we have lots of officers on light duties who need in-house roles found for them, and there’s a shortage of police experience in control rooms. I wonder if these two problems could be combined somehow… Nah, that’s just crazy talk…

  • Steelriverboy

    If they’re on light duties long term, I think it could be considered an option. The officers on light duties would certainly feel like like they were still contributing to the response teams. At the same time, the response teams could benefit from a reduced workload.

  • Eastlondonmet

    Due to a murder and no LPM resources all response teams on the borough have been made to do 12hr shifts to cover the short fall! CID have been given aid yet the ongoing burglary microbeat and arrest enquiry aid still goes on!

  • Anonymous

    What you have failed to mention is the word ‘risk’. if we do not attend the call about the boy eating too many doughnuts whats the risk to the force reputation!! ACPO and the control room supervisors, need to grow a pair and tell people they are responsible for thier own lives. We help when things go wrong but YOU are responsible for your life.
    Me..10 yrs experience of telling people how to blow thier own nose.
    The genuine victim I will travel to the ends of the earth to help. 75% of what I deal with could be left in a sewer!!!

  • Chrissy boy

    You have hit the nail right on the head. That was the benefit of having CAD rooms ( Divisional op rooms, to colleagues outside Metland), the controller was a senior PC or PS who could square the majority of calls over the phone, No call for police action. What we need is someone in Ops supervision to do the same and develop a backbone.
    As for response teams, simple more officers less paperwork. Get rid of performance indicators and allow officers to police as opposed to reporting crime. I joined to get in the faces of criminals and look after law abiding folk. Not to chase figures.
    I would say the majority of the calls in my part of the world are all related to Domestic’s, Missing people (kids from foster/care homes and mental health patients) and Robbery.
    Why cant the result for non crime domestics be resulted on CAD as per Home Office counting rules, why create more work for ourselves in respect of Non crime reports, Etc.
    Start charging Hospitals for the patients they lose, I know it will have a knock on effect for NHS Budgets but they may actually start to supervise.

    Custody is another part of LPM, thats FAILED. Despite concerns being voiced by staff, Again Management dont care, we are treated like a production line in processing prisoners, but woe betide the fact you miss a pre-release risk assessment due to the fact that youve spent the last seven hours booking in, not been given a break despite regulations in place to ensure this, in fact havnt even been to the toilet. In my nick we have four custody officer on restricted duties, all having received injuries whilst restraining prisoners, but we’re getting pressure from management to return to full duties DESPITE instructions from Occupational Health.

    I hate the job, I hate what its become, again we make the job work but now’s the time for the Federation to step up and make the public aware of our frustrations and concerns.

  • Jon

    Not totally true but the sentiment is correct. After 21yrs on response,firearms,public order etc I was ‘sent’ totally against my will,to become a ‘call taker’ because that area of the service was failing (I think we told them the decision to get rid of cad would result in this too?). So yes I’ve seen how new call takers are trained and yes they do send some crap through to despatch (as I didn’t,and as its all down to figures….I was berated for it! I was even told off for not saying ‘hello police operator’ now I’m not a snob but I’m not an operator I’m an ‘officer’) and its batted off there, I now do despatching too (whilst I wait to go back to relief) as I always did from time to time and spend ages batting said crap off. LPM is just sector policing under another name,a re invention of the wheel because a new brace of seniors require evidence for promotion and a new commissioner needs to make his mark (he ends up in the lords whatever his calamity…Blair!) The higher up ladder the more fundamental. This will fail as SP did for the same reasons,those you detail..a basic lack of understanding. Nicely written.

  • Blue Bob

    The whole problem stems from years of promoting the wrong people. Sudo politians who fire out buzz words have been flying up the ranks at the expense of good honest coppers.
    Just think how different it would be with coppers in charge. Control rooms would be encouraged/made to filter out useless bumpf giving is time to really deal with crime.
    Half arsed hashed together policy ideas would be shut down by senior officers with real world experience saying why it won’t work ( see various blogs about why LPT won’t work and compare them to the disaster it has proved to be).
    Minority mouth peices would be ignored or discredited instead of pandered to and given seats on policing panels.
    If anyone seriously wanted to repair policing in the UK that is where you start, promoting proper experienced coppers who can actually do the job and are not interested in politics or knighthoods.
    The next disaster heading our way will be these graduate entries.

  • An analysis of why the Local Policing Model is doomed to failure. WIth graphs. Management like graphs. | The Ademan Deloya blog

    […] LPM) is doomed to failure, both before it came in (here: http://wp.me/p2T48h-y) and after (here: http://minimumcover.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/guest-blog-the-mps-local-policing-model-ademan-deloya/). Since no one seems to be listening, I thought I’d express the same sentiment again, but this […]

  • The French Man

    Numbers under the LPM are readily available why not publish them here. You can then take response team BWT (borough working target..not what you have but what you should have) and compare it to the new BWT, likewise for SNT pre LMP and new NPT post LPM. The Safer Neighbourhood Teams or Neighbourhood Policing Teams have increased and have 2000 extra officers (less 900 or so PCSO, but these were changed into 500 PC’s to increase the Emergency Response Teams strength). What most officers are noticing is that we are massively short of PC’s. This was due to a lack of recruitment over the last three years or so, hence the need to recruit 5000 extra PC’s over the next three years. Thus we have a situation where the LPM is failing due to a lack of numbers not design. Pre LPM the SNT’s held all the vacancies but now there is a requirement to have officers on each shift for the NPT’s. However back to my point why not show the BWT for response and SNT for your London Borough pre and post LPM. Also why not show I and S call figures, pre and post LPM all of these are readily available. The risk re lack of numbers under LPM was raised at the start 3 years ago. Maybe not recruiting PC’s for three years was a way of saving money but without cutting actual numbers of officers and only increasing vacancies. The blame lays with higher management and their recruitment strategy. However Ademan is blaming the LPM but the problem is a lack of resources to make it work. Maybe in three years time when the vacancies are filled then we can judge the LPM design. CID cuts is another story and here i think the LPM got it wrong. In London we have Boris who politically does not want to cut police numbers (police staff not included who are being cut massively), hence why we are now recruiting 3000 to 5000 over the next three years. Yes the MPS is short now but actual police constables have not been cut, we just have a lot of vacancies..

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