Monday, March 10, 2008

My remit is everything

I've had it up to here with the job at the moment.

You'd think policing is in essence a simple concept but somehow it has become a convoluted twisted political game. Maybe it's especially worse at this time of year (i.e. three weeks before the end of the financial year) but it's just pathetic at the moment.

Couple of things have highlighted this to me. Having spent an entire day doing a pointless paperwork duplication exercise for someone in HR having a strop (It doesn't matter that you've got all this record of supervision in this format, it has to be done on this one) I went out with a bunch of my lot the other day. I even got to drive for a bit before I had to give up to deal with my phone going incessantly about some other pointless political wrangling:

One of your team is driving our squad's car!
Do you need it? You're going off duty now.
You're not on our squad, you can't use our car.
Tough, I've got permission from your governor.

(repeat several times.)

I was saddened to see one of my Pc's, an Irishman the size of a medium oak tree, become near jubilant over finding some cannabis, which meant his sanction detection targets (also now known as "Saccy D's", I found out) were now met for the month.

I wasn't saddened because he met his target (not that I take any notice of the targets anyway, as I am quite aware the capability of a police officer is not measured by a tickbox list) but because we have reached the situation where a reliable, capable PC, damn useful in a pub fight, is reduced to this.

I ought to add the reason for his jubilation was that now, having achieved his target for the month, he was free to dealing with jobs in the most appropriate way, not the way the statisticians want.

As it is now the end of the financial reporting year, all the various squads are desperately trying (as in even harder than usual) to avoid being given any new jobs that could impact their figures. Whilst I was in custody the other day the domestic violence unit were desperately trying to cling on to the ACPO definition of a domestic incident because the female victim, who lived with her less than charming other half who had given her a thumping, was a few days under the age of 18 (ACPO definition being a domestic incident can only take place between adults over 18, you see). Unfortunately for them, the arresting officer wasn't a PC, slightly more susceptible to being out-talked by squads- but the duty officer for the day.

Half an hour later two grumpy detectives mooch into the custody suite. I did chuckle to myself.

Of course, response teams have the remit of everything. I love the gadget quote- remits are excuses used by lazy officers to avoid doing work. Or to avoid doing unglamorous work.

Another day, a different squad from a neighboring division in the custody suite, as their own custody suite is full. There's four of them dealing with this one prisoner. Force doctor says that the chap needs a constant watch and so they approach the desk with this news, expecting to use one of our PCs. Their faces when my colleague tells them where a chair is so they can do it. With the duty officer behind him, agreeing with it. Sorry chaps, you're already using our facilities, you're not diminishing our team strength with your problem. I did chuckle. Again. I could see their thought process on their faces- "but I'm on a squaaaad!"

I think I'm just especially frustrated with response team work at the moment. We are the easiest to blame for any failure to meet squads targets, we get criticised for failing to reach our corporate team targets, never get any thank you for dealing with crappy jobs well. It is so easily forgotten how I have a quarter of my available response team sat cold, bored and immobile on crime scenes, and much easier to point out how so many percentage of calls weren't answered in the chartered response time.

Response team is the dumping ground for anything that comes into the too difficult box for other departments. I spend at least 2/3 of my time when I'm not in custody doing reams of paperwork relating to an officer that came into the too difficult box for the training unit, and who got farmed off to response team to "develop".

I'm coming increasingly to the conclusion I need a break from response team. It's all I've ever really been interested in the job, but I'm getting to the stage where I've had enough. I'd like to be able to play more than one rugby match in a month without having to take leave to do so. It'd be nice to have a shift pattern that doesn't include night shifts. I'd like to have a team with PC's where I don't have monitor every single thing they do.

I think I need to be on a squad.