I have read the campaign manifestos of a number of prospective and shortlisted Police and Crime Commissioner candidates over the last few days and they have served only to increase my apprehension over what this new role will bring to Policing.
They are full of cheap talk about community engagement, safer neighbourhoods, preventing and reducing crime and all the other tag lines we see on the bonnets of our Police vehicles. None, however, appear to address the pivotal issue of how they can possibly hope to achieve these idealistic goals when Policing is being devoured from all sides by the political parties that have approved their candidacy.
The elections in November of this year will bring about, as Nick Herbert put it in November, a new age in Policing, with Chief Officers being directly accountable to politicians and strategic direction being moulded by political desires.
Policing is not about politics. It is about providing an emergency service and getting the baddies off the streets as fast as possible for as long as possible. We cannot start working to a political agenda or being governed by profit and loss accounts – if we lose sight of our role we lose the ability to do it effectively.
Difficult choices have been made by Police forces across England and Wales in light of the recent Winsor 1 reforms. Police officer numbers are at a 10 year low and recruitment is still running at a trickle for those already in the service and wishing to convert from other roles to that of Police Officer. Winsor 2 attacks those that will remain with further financial punishment for injury on duty, not working long night shifts, the potential redundancy (still without the availability of industrial rights) and to top it off we now have the proposed pension reforms to look forward to over the next few years! Continue reading