Saturday, December 08, 2007

Two pennies

Every blog has been ranting about our pay award. 1.9%.

Now I don't think we as a rule a particularly badly paid especially when compared to some other emergency services. Can't say I particularly like a pay increase below inflation though, that's really a tad off.

I don't know the ins and outs of the whole history of police pay but as far as I can tell some time ago an agreement was reached with the incumbent government that in return for the right to strike we would be guaranteed a certain pay increase each year. Quite what the mechanisms were regarding that I have no idea but the point is this government has reneged on that agreement.

MPs have such a cushy life which is what really makes this sting. Take a look at Coppers Blog for the best comparison of MPs claiming expenses for everything left right and centre. I have to buy my own torches, batteries and belt kit as the job issue ones are invariably poor quality. MPs can even claim a cycling to work allowance! At their rate, I'll have a pound a day thank you very much. Not much, but it'll buy me and the wife a takeaway at the end of each month. Oh except we don't have a cycling allowance.

I would've accepted 2.5%. What has really wound me up is the way the Jacqui "I live in an awfully nice area" Smith has said she accepts the 2.5% recommendation but won't backdate it to when it should have been implemented, making it a reality of 1.9%. Its underhand, sneaky and frankly I'd like to..... (I've been pondering what to say, and I still can't think of anything postable)

Here's the reality for me. I parade 6 officers to cover an urban / suburban population of approx 70,000. I spent 9 hours of my last shift writing a report regarding one individual person. On night shift there are dozens of spare car park spaces but come the morning every one is filled by someone, but who I never know as they're never with me on response work. Safer Neighbourhood teams have been set up with people taken from response teams to do the work response teams don't have enough time and resources to look at. The ethos of management revolves solely around perfomance indicators (and inextricably linked- whether the Superintendents get their bonus). "Support" Squads are set up with fat overtime budgets to target specific crimes (which are always but ALWAYS linked to performance indicators and bonuses) whilst team inspectors can only authorise overtime when it is completely unavoidable (i.e. arrest). They face discipline if it is overbudget and yet if there is an underspend the money is taken away from them to feed another support squad.

I knew there was a reason I didn't initially want to post about this. It winds me up just how messed up this system is. And the blame completely lies with the Labour Government as far as I'm concerned. I've not been in quite long enough to have worked under the Tories but this lot are obsessed with target culture and imposing a financial reward and sanction scheme on a job that essentially cannot be measured effectively with any statistical means. And those aspects which can be measured cannot give an accurate reflection of what they are meant to. 4 out of 5 crimes aren't investigated? So we are expected to put out witness appeals for every car window smashed as John Random forgot to put his TomTom away? There is often a reason why crimes are not investigated beyond their initial investigation. We don't have the resources to stand there at the following day asking people if they were present yesterday, to pore over hours of CCTV on the offchance a suspect may have been captured. I've known people get furiously angry for us not checking 8 hours of CCTV when they found their car window had been smashed in a car park. No suspect description, not known if he was a he or a she or in a car of their own, utterly unrealistic proposition. But my goodness she went mad at me for not doing it.

This post has gone on long enough, apologies.