Send Three and Fourpence, We Are Going to a Dance…

So the last vestiges of a once great police service are to be sold off, to quote Gadget, ‘for thirty pieces of silver’.  The decline has been going on for about twenty years, (some will say longer), and worsened as more and more money was thrown at the task in the attempt to improve the service.  Departments were created that never existed and pay scales rocketed with the excuse that unless the going rate was paid the right people would not be recruited.  So if we accept that to be true what have the ‘right people’ done to get it where it is now?

The target culture coupled with selective crime investigation based on cost has to bear a huge amount of responsibility for the decline.  The thought that crimes could be ignored or downgraded as a way of dealing with the problem was a flawed concept from the outset but many people clawed their way to the top on the back of it.  There cannot be an argument that insufficient funds were to blame because until the failure of the banks if anything too much money was squandered and often on the wrong resources.

In the Wall Street journal back in June 2011, there was an interesting article about Israeli military leaders sitting in their offices sending out missives without really knowing what was happening on the ground.  Its says –

“In the annals of military folklore is the story of the supposed orders being sent by a British unit in World War 1 that was sent as “Send reinforcements, we are going to advance” but received by the headquarters as “Send Three and Fourpence, we are going to a dance”. And this was in the days before Google Translate.

Forbes carries a story of the latter-day equivalent.

WTF? Israeli General Warns of Officers Texting Orders, Being Ignored

When an Israeli Army officer says, “Follow me!”, the soldiers under his command may be confused whether he means Facebook or a firefight.

According to an Israeli general, some officers have started issuing military orders to their men by email and text message. Even more incredibly, soldiers frequently ignore those orders; a development the general warned could have dire consequences in time of war.

Apparently the problem is one of poor commanders not getting in the thick of things with their men. Forbes reports a complaint by Army ombudsman Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Brik.

“There are some commands that you need to give while looking the soldier in the eyes, otherwise the soldiers won’t follow the commanders into battle,” Brik said.

Brik may be fighting a rear-guard action. Later this summer, the Israeli Army is issuing a new uniform that boasts an interior pocket for soldiers to carry their cell phone.”

The reliance on technology within the police service is at it’s zenith currently and is on the increase but listening to those on the ground there is a distinct feeling that too many ‘shiny arses’ sit in their offices sending out emails and texts and they are not getting in the thick of things with their staff, ‘looking them in the eye when giving orders’.  Inspector Gadget has bemoaned that the SMT’s in his force are noticeable by their absence and their biggest worry is whether or not they can park their job provided BMW in it’s allocated parking space – I nearly shocked myself SHOCK!

Whilst this might be a tad unfair on a lot of very good senior officers, (nor am I pointing fingers at any one force), there can be no doubt that the slavish following of the latest trendy gimmick by the majority of SMT’s over the past few years has brought the British Police Service to it’s knees.

It’s a great pity therefore that this government cannot do the honourable thing and kill it off quickly but is instead going to let it suffer a slow and lingering death by privatisation.

Back in 2007 Gadget wrote a post called  – Blood Red Shoes.  He re-posted it in July 2008.  In it he says:

“Monday morning.

The Senior Management Team will pad softly with their hands full of paper and mugs of filter coffee towards the meeting room on the third floor.

The air-conditioning or the heating will be on, depending upon the circumstances.

They will relax into their chairs, safe after the rigours of the trip to the lift from their car-parking spaces. They stop only to exchange knowing glances with the secretary and to look at how we did over the weekend on the cover of the local paper.

Now they prepare to sit in judgement about events far away concerning people of whom they know nothing. There is more money in this room, more experience and more qualifications than have been deployed in the whole Division over the last 72 hours.

They will sit like some bizarre ‘X Factor’ panel as incident after incident is presented to them in fraudulent summary. They will jostle and preen. The Chief Superintendent will hand out salvation or damnation with a comment or a look. Careers are at stake.”

He goes on to say –

“People keep their distance in case there is a risk to be taken or a decision made. One which may effect people’s lives. Physical proximity might be enough to suggest joint responsibility.”

Those same Senior Managers have sent out all the wrong messages and instead of saying loudly to the Government;

 “Send reinforcements, we are going to advance”

The Government has read the inaction as;

“Send Three and Fourpence, We Are Going to a Dance”

and they are now seeking the brass band to play at the wake of a police service that was once the envy of the world but has now priced itself out of existence…. Dazed

See: Creeping Privatisation of the police

and:

Police invite security firms to bid for roles

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Added 2030hrs:

Police Federation vice-chairman says privatisation could destroy service

A radical plan to give private companies responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighbourhoods and even detaining suspects will have “catastrophic consequences”, the leader of rank and file officers has warned.

Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the privatisation proposals would jeopardise the chance of successful investigations and convictions and lead to the “destruction of the finest police service in the world”

The list of policing activities up for grabs includes investigating crimes, detaining suspects, developing cases, responding to and investigating incidents, supporting victims and witnesses, managing high-risk individuals, patrolling neighbourhoods, managing intelligence, managing engagement with the public, as well as more traditional back-office functions, such as managing forensics, providing legal services, managing the vehicle fleet, finance and human resources.

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