Posts Tagged ‘Home Office’

It has just been drawn to my attention that the Pigpen is not allowed to express ANY views that may be considered political in any sense. Apparently I am in breach of statute and several disciplinary codes if I so do. I quote in full from the superintendents association article;

‘As a regular user of Twitter and a former Head of Professional Standards, I have become increasingly concerned with comments from a number of serving police officers, whether anonymous or clearly identifiable, expressing through tweets or blogs what could be perceived as either ‘political’ views or comments that ‘cross the line’ in terms of the what is expected of a police officer.

We live in a democratic society of which free speech is at the heart, however police officers are fully aware of the fact that they have certain restrictions on their private lives, indeed this is one of the things that makes us unique in terms of our professional role. These restrictions are laid out in Schedule 1 of Police Regulations 2003 but I wonder how many officers have ever really looked at them or thought about what they really mean. Here is an excerpt:

“A member of a police force shall at all times abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of his duties or which is likely to give rise to the impression amongst members of the public that it may so interfere; and in particular a member of a police force shall not take any active part in politics.”

For the most part, this is not usually a major issue for officers, however because ‘politics’ here is not restricted to party politics but means politics in its widest sense, some officers could be at risk. The increased use of social media combined with the current debate around police cuts, policing reform and in particular Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) is presenting opportunities for officers to offer their views in a very public forum.  On some occasions, those views include ‘political’ views or views about current Government policies, which could potentially be in breach of Schedule 1.  This situation is likely to get more difficult for officers as the interest in the elections for local PCCs increases over coming months. I think it’s timely, therefore, for officers to be reminded of Police Regulations and to bear them in mind when commenting on political policies or the views of PCCs.  

In addition to the above scenario is the fact that two of the Standards of Professional Behaviour for police officers as outlined in the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008 set positive standards of expectation in terms of conduct when dealing with others, and both of these can relate directly to the use of social media:

  • Police officers act with self control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy
  • Police officers act with fairness and impartiality

It is inevitable that many police officers feel frustrated and angry about the changes that are happening to the service and their own pay and conditions at the present time, but does this ever justify breaching these standards? I don’t believe that it does. One of the statements that police officers are often heard saying is that they are professionals. On 99% of occasions I believe they are, however some of the conduct I see via social media sites does not give that impression, and if that’s how I feel, then what impression is it giving the public?

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a great fan of the use of social media in policing, providing it is used professionally, and I don’t want to stop police officers from expressing their views and feelings. This blog isn’t about threatening officers with the full force of regulations, it is simply about reminding officers to do the right thing. Have your say, but please don’t let yourself or the service down by doing so in an unprofessional manner. Be professional, play within the rules and you will play safe. ‘

So, it seems that a literal reading of this piece of state sponsored propaganda means that I cannot comment on anything to do with Government, Politics, decisions made affecting me directly and the greater British public indirectly. I cannot respond to comments made to others on those topics. Indeed it seems that the only safe subject for me to write about in future is the state of the weather once that topic has been vetted by the powers that be.

I have just realised that this post is in breach of the regulations, … I canm hear footsteps drawing nearer and n


Following on from my post here:

I have just been informed that the Police Service that I work for, we can no longer say Force due to its negative connotations, saved £22 million by the end of 2011/2012, a term vague by design I believe. Apparently the service will save another 8 million by the end of this financial year. In total the service in this area have to save £50 million by 2015. So from April 2013 until April 2015 the service needs to save a further £20 million.

In order to achieve this it seems that 400 Officers and 450 support staff will have to go.

We are told that the second phase of the operation to save money, yes it has an operational name and a team to match, is not just about saving money. Yes, that’s right, my Chief Constable has said so. Just because he earns £145,000 (November 2011) does not mean that he can treat his constables like idiots. This phase is apparently about modernising, with less money to cost less money at the same time as saving £20 million. But, of course, it is not all about saving money.

The chief opines that by 2015 ‘… we will look and feel like a very different organisation.’ He goes on to say that he cannot describe the plans in detail, probably because the May fairy hasn’t told him what they will be yet.

I CAN envisage our service in 2015. There will be fewer Police Officers. There will be fewer Police Stations. The Police Stations that do exist will be open for fewer hours. There will be less staff to manage ‘front offices’, custody and scene’s of crime officers.

We will modernise. That probably means another set of computer programmes that cost the earth, do not talk to other system’s within this service never mind those with common borders. No maintenance contract being taken out to save money so no updates provided. A change of personal equipment, different baton’s, … again. In all probability Cheaper handcuffs and less training in Home Office Approved Techniques for restraint.

To shed the 400 officers it is likely that the older more experienced officers will be shed because they are expensive, being at the top of the pay scale. The experience will be gone. The officers will, in all likelihood, be shed because they cannot complete the soon to be introduced fitness tests. I can run all day, I cannot complete the ‘shuttle’ run because this requires constant turning and after an active life my knees don’t like the strain. My job does not entail chasing people. I am a detective. Unlike Chief Superintendent Boyd (‘Waking the Dead’) Inspector Frost and many other TV Detectives, in the last 7 years I have not had to run after someone. I have arrested people, interviewed them, investigated serious crime and never once had to break a sweat. Some would say that is what experience does for you.

I joined the Police at a time when they were recruiting more mature people because there were so many youngsters ‘in the job’. Now, as a cost cutting exercise the more mature among us are likely to be targeted for removal. My pension has been worked for. I have paid 11% of my salary into the scheme. As a consequence of the contribution, in the early years, my family suffered financial hardship. Now, if I continue to work until I am 60, which the government will allow me to do, I will be forced to accept reduced benefits for increased contributions.

If the government do not want me to continue being a Police Officer, pay me off. I have already previously blogged about where money can be found. To the good people of England I would say, do you want a Police Service comprised of students, or would you like some experienced people. I appreciate experience does not equate to good, but new does equate to mistakes. Mistakes lead to wrongful convictions and wrongful acquittals.