November 16th, 2009

This week I have been mostly…

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

…ringing people before I finish my shift to tell them what they’ve already worked out for themselves, that we haven’t had anyone free to go & see them yet.

Well, that’s what I usually do on a late shift, but this week was a slightly different matter. For 2 days I didn’t have to ring anyone. I can scarcely believe it myself as I sit here & type the words, but for 2 days we had loads of officers. We must have had 10 patrol cars available for most of the shift. This meant that when we got the usual shite that takes ages with no real resul, we still had other officers to attend people’s burglaries & assaults.

It was quite a busy few days on the division. When I sat down to the terminal at the start of the shift we had probably double the amount of jobs we normally have during the week. We had a steady flow of jobs throughout the shift, which was unusual as often they come in fits & starts. We had a full shift for a change, nobody was off sick or on leave or a course. We also had a couple of the night shift come in early able to take out a couple of cars.

I was able to get almost all of the jobs where people were actually available to be seen assigned to a unit to deal with. We managed to decrease the amount of jobs to a level lower than it was when we took over which is quite unusual since the bulk of our calls come in during the evening.

It lasted two days, on the third day we were back to ‘normal’ staffing levels, and guess what, we started the shift qith about 20 jobs on the box & ended it with about 36. I had to ring a good dozen people to let them know we wouldn’t be attending today. I have no doubt that the controller who took over the next day would be ringing several of the same people putting them off for another day. When I go back in 2 days time I guarantee I’ll speak to at least 2 people I spoke to yesterday to apologise once again.

To my simple reckoning I think that with more officers we just might be able to provide some kind of service people might be a bit more pleased with. We don’t need thousands of brand new recruits, just a few more of what we’ve got driving patrol cars, that’s all.

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  1. Baz says:

    If its any consolation, i have worked in three different countries in the police, the UK, the Caribbean, and Australia, and I can confirm its the same no matter what country you happen to be working in. At the end of the day bosses would rather plough resources into ‘squads,’ to tackle the lates ‘crime type de jour,’ who produce sexy statistics, and as such get the respective boss their pips or crown. Its much harder to to put a statistic to turning up to a job promptly, and providing good service, or stopping some cars on a road so a mum can get her children across safely.

    As long as these police forces around the world are all targets driven, nothing much will ever improve.

    November 17th, 2009 at 07:28

  2. Ex-RUC says:

    What happened during those two days? Was HMIC visiting?

    November 17th, 2009 at 14:45

  3. Civ_In_The_City says:

    Spot on. Imagine what it would be like to actually have adequate resources to provide a near decent service most of the time. That`s all people want though isn`t it? They don`t need miracles just to get the impression that the police are somewhere near organised and professional.

    Unfortunately, having the right number of resources at all times means that during quiet times some of those resources may not be constantly occupied. Therefore they are wasted resources.

    When you waste resources by not fully occupying them two things will (or won`t) happen, allegedly.

    (1) They will NOT just find other useful things to do, like help out somewhere else, or brush up on their traffic regs, or tidy up the locker room, or vacuum out a patrol car, or help a colleague with revision for their Sgts exams, or have a go at some of that e-learning stuff that is available on the intranet, or have a wander down the high street just to show their face. Or any one of a hundred other useful things that go to improving things overall, just a little bit, for the benefit of everyone.

    (2) The sky will fall on all our heads.

    If you only have barely adequate resources for an slightly below average day because it`s cheaper, or people are off sick, or people are on courses – (but you pretend you have the right number of resources because a spreadsheet somewhere says you have) two things will (or won`t happen).

    (1) When the shit hits the fan and you go from ‘fairly quiet’ to ‘balls-out headless chicken mode’ you won`t have any resources to call on to meet the extra demand. Your system will completely break down, your customers will be really pissed off and lose confidence in the police to do their job, staff will get stressed and go on sick leave, you will have created a f*cking farsical cardboard cut-out of a police service. You will blame ‘managers’ for not having the ‘right people’ in the ‘right places’ at the ‘right times’ and nothing will change.

    (2) All those little extra jobs won`t get done either so every aspect of your organisation will gradually wither and rust to shit.

    Untidy locker rooms, if nobody else cares why should you so just drop your litter anywhere.

    Staff not up to speed on latest regs so making mistakes and making your force look like imbeciles and generating more work to put things right.

    Potential Sgts giving up on the idea of promotion because there`s nobody around to support them, and why bother going to that effort anyway, just keep your head down and take the paychecks.

    Nobody wanders down the High Street on the off-chance. Bosses are taking the piss so I`ll go round the back for a fag and get someone to clock-off for me so I can go early and watch the footy.

    What we`re talking about is know as a general malaise which leads to dispirited, disillusioned, disheartened workers.

    If you`re a senior police officers ask yourself this: Do your staff start out like that when they join or do they only look like that after a couple of years in?

    November 17th, 2009 at 19:58

  4. Tony F says:

    Civ_In_The_City well put!

    November 17th, 2009 at 22:59

  5. Jabadaw says:

    In the twilight of my service I cannot believe how few officers we now have out on the streets to cover a shift. Due to ‘stream lining’ of the police and closure of several police stations on an area, it appears to me that you now have the same number of police officers parading for a shift that used to parade for one police station when I started.
    Where have all the officers gone? On my first ever night duty, the shift paraded 32 officers. Two of whom had around 26 years service. Many had 15 plus years service and all were still happy to work shifts and be of some assistance to the populace of where we worked. But, then you started to get sneering middle ‘managers’ who looked down their noses at an officer who was still a uniformed constable or sergeant with 20 years plus. A bloody disgrace! These fools are now in charge of all of us and have no real idea as to what policing is about nor do they seem to listen to what the public actually want.

    November 17th, 2009 at 23:11

  6. PC A HUNN says:

    Civ in the City…. Nice one. Nail on head. Thanks.

    November 18th, 2009 at 16:11

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