April 25th, 2008

Me First

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The wife of a BTP officer who committed suicide has been speaking out against the target-led culture which pervades modern policing.

PC Ian Hardwick, 41, had been an officer with BTP for 16 years when he stepped in front of a train in Leeds in June 2006.

His inquest was told he felt depressed & unable to cope with demands put upon him by senior officers at his Sheffield base.

Mrs Hardwick has told how  a new system of weekly performance targets created poor morale & a culture where officers were cherry picking jobs so that they could meet their own individual targets. She said, "It got t the stage where intelligence was even kept secret – officers were not passing it on to the next shift as they needed it for themselves to get another box ticked & the job done."

I can vouch that this is not limited to the BTP. It’s the same in my force. Some officers are cherry picking jobs. I’ve lost count of the amount of times officers have not been free to attend run-of-the-mill, everyday jobs (for which they’d get no detections or performance indicators) but are suddenly free when a job come sup which will get them an easy arrest.

I’m sure there are many cases of officers racing to a job from different directions just so they can get their hands on a body.

A little while ago it was brought to my attention that someone on a particular shift was dedicated to sit at a computer monitoring all the logs being created which had the look of an easy arrest, they then advised officers on their team to get to the job ASAP & snaffle the arrest even before the log was sent over to the control room for allocation. Traffic officers were attending Sainsburys just so they could get an arrest for their targets. I’m sure this is widespread.

If intelligence come sin with the likely location of some wanted scrote or other, surely this person should be taken off the streets ASAP & not when the person keeping this info to themselves is next on duty or is next looking for a boost to his personal performance indicators?

We all know it goes on, the trouble is that nobody with any say in the matter has the balls to stand up and say "wait a minute."

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  1. Plodnomore says:

    I read about PC Hardwicke and couldn’t believe how the Police Force has changed in the last few years in putting so much pressure on street officers. No one, irrespective of their profession, should be put under such strain that the only way out they can see is the ending of their life. My condolences to Mrs Hardwicke. It is hoped that a very deep investigation is made into what went wrong and that those responsible for this tragedy, whether they be senior Police officers or Staff, are taken to task. Unfortunately, why do I not feel confident of this happening?

    April 25th, 2008 at 17:31

  2. blueknight says:

    He may have thought he was the only one suffering the pressure, which sounds unlikely. I have been out 3 yrs it was not quite so bad when I was in, plus as a beat officer, I was insulated againt a lot of the day to day bean counting rubbish.
    If anyone questioned my performance I could always show that I had been busy, but not necessarily doing the things that won points.
    Like plodnomore I do not feel confident that any enquiry will address the root cause. I expect his Sgt and Insp will get words of advice for not managing him or spotting there was a problem, but that is about it.
    The sad thing is that everyone know that the bean counting statistics are crap and don’t mean a thing anyway .

    April 26th, 2008 at 01:46

  3. Angry Dave says:

    I felt so sorry for this lad and his missus.
    That old addage don’t let the bastards grind you down is so true.
    It can be bad enough going out there and facing an ever hostile world knowing that every one seems to hate you.
    To then have your own team turn on you to prove themselves – Orlocks to that.
    I still give easy nicks away to those younger in service. I might end up doing all the work but they learn how to deal with it and so next time when they are 01 they can deal with it. I aint no tutor but the day I hog a DIC for figures – god help the next Guv who uses score cards as a beating stick after that !!

    April 27th, 2008 at 04:50

  4. Retired but came bac says:

    I retired about 3 years ago but decided to come back from civvy street to uniform. The job has changed. I was told by a guvenor the other day that the job I was applying for as a Temp Inspector would bring unreasonable pressures on the new job holder. Guess what I will not be doing that. Unreasonble pressures what the F—is going on. How can anyone in their right mind come out with that. I work for the toys I can buy, for how much longer I do not know.

    August 24th, 2008 at 16:05

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