September 14th, 2008

If I had any hair left

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

I feel it’s time for another moan.

There are times I really love my job. The thought that I’m actually helping my colleagues still out on the streets, assisting them in any way I can, being friendly & helpful. And sometimes aiding them to catch baddies. There’s no greater feeling than playing an integral part in a job which ends up with people being locked up.

There are times I don’t like my job, putting up with all the moaning, work-dodging, sarcasm & downright rudeness of some of the people I actually just want to help (police officers, my colleagues on the street)

Then there are times that I just can’t wait to get the hell out of the place. These are usually brought about by the people whose sole aim appears to fuck my job up & make it more stressful & demanding than it needs to be.

Three years ago was probably the last time I enjoyed my job in 2 out of the 3 aspects mentioned above (you’ll never get every officer to be helpful & courteous). Then the ‘management’ started to fuck my job up.

Three years ago we had several tens of people on the shift, now we have under two. You’d have thought that depleting the shift of controllers by more than 50%, they might have lessened the workload. No.

Not only have they not lessened the workload, they’ve actually (unbelievably) increased it. We now have to cover all the extra radio/controlling work brought in by the ANPR-worship-be-all-an-end-all now taking place on the roads. We have to provide staff – from our depleted numbers – to cover all the extra intelligence functions required.

Three years ago complaints were made by officers that their radio channels were being single-crewed & the service was suffering. Radio calls were being missed, logs were not being updated with important information & officer safety was compromised because the single controller, who has to spend a significant time on the phone also, was unable to answer the radio sufficiently speedily.

The ‘management’ went on record to say that radio channels would never be routinely single-crewed. Since then they have allowed over 50% of the controllers on my shift to leave & replaced 2. We now have, routinely, 80% of our radio channels single-crewed.

There are two main repurcussions; one, you simply cannot get annual leave & days off approved. There are people on my shift, with children, who have been declined a summer holiday this year. One has been told they cannot go to their own daughter’s wedding. Someone wasn’t allowed to move house on the day his sale/purchase went through. There are many examples of people not being able to get time off for things they feel are really important. Time was when you had a problem getting a day off when you went to your sergeant or inspector, explained the need for the day & ‘things happened’ to allow you to take it. What does the job do now? Fuck all.

You want a day off in 13 months time to attend your parents’ golden wedding.? No chance, do a late shift. What they’ve only got over a year to sort out cover for you? Go swivel.

You need a certain level of staff to man all the positions? Tough, we have to save £200,000 off the budget, let the staff we don’t let go pick up all the extra work & stress.

Oh, stress, it seems more people are going off with stress, so everyone else will just have to cover their work too. And just to make sure nobody else goes off sick with stress, we’ll visit you all in your homes to make sure you’re not shirking & we’ll stick up notices threatening to stick anyone on who takes a day off on sick for a day they’ve previously applied for leave.

I have to go in to work again tomorrow. For the 3rd week in a row I will be single crewed, on a late turn & by 10pm I won’t know whether my arsehole is drawn, bored or counter-sunk. I’ll probably get told there aren’t enough staff to have a full break & will have to put my hand up if I want to go to the toilet.

And I’ll have another application to use up the leave I’m still owed turned down.

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  1. Tony F says:

    Surely there is a legal requirement for annual leave? Can you claim lost leave days and take pay in lieu? Are you allowed to die whilst at work?

    September 14th, 2008 at 20:41

  2. Civ_In_The_City says:

    That 200 grand you have to save is due to the budget cuts that all forces are having to deal with (despite government claims that forces are now receiving more funding than ever before, they don`t tell you that they`ve cut numbers by not recruiting and taken on 150% more work than 10 years ago).

    I`m in favour of saving money where you can but forces have no discretion over what parts of the service they provide and which they don`t so can`t choose where to make cutbacks. It`s another Whitehall ploy, they tell chiefs exactly what to do, with bonuses for them if they comply, but keep police authorities in place to take the blame when it all goes pear-shaped (It`s called plausible deniability – see also “Watergate Scandal” and “Nixon” on Google).

    So, budget cuts are made at a rate of, say, 10% across all departments equally – regardless of the importance of the work they do. Hence 200 can`t have a holiday from Comms any more because there isn`t anyone to cover him while he`s away for the day, but there are 6 people working full-time in the diversity office and a team of 10 in the press-office. All of whom get two weeks in the sun whenever they want it.

    September 14th, 2008 at 20:54

  3. Fed up says:

    200, dont post often, love the blog and regular reader. This post echo’s exactly what my ‘farce’ are doing. We are always single crewed and to make matters worse we are now combining radio channels as there are not enough staff. Same as you- breaks are a rarity, leave is as rare as hens teeth and no one is bothered. We’re doomed!!

    September 15th, 2008 at 09:01

  4. 200 says:

    Civ_In_The_City – spot on as always!

    Tony, You can die at work provided you have submiited an application to the HR Department signed by the Pope, the Prime Minsiter & the Dali Lhama & arranged your own cover.

    September 15th, 2008 at 17:42

  5. Plodnomore says:

    Fedrep re welfare and MP re restrictive working practices – but inform your Sgt, Insp, Ch Insp and Supt first that this is what you are planning to do. You may not make yourself popular but with the time you have left, do you really care? You can use some of the arguments listed above regarding the staffing levels and ability to take leave by other departments as well as the unfair and incompetent management of staffing levels. How would the Chief Constable respond to the newspaper headline “CONTROL ROOM OPERATOR GOES BESERK AFTER CONTINUOUS SOLO WORKING WITHOUT A BREAK OR RELIEF”. You will find that once you leave, and you have been given your certificate of service and a soft drink and handshake by your Supt, any likelihood of them responding fairly to accusations of bad working practices will be met by the standard “We care…..”, “We do not take lightly our responsibilities…..” “There is a well proven system that PC ********* could have taken advantage of…..”. Don’t forget that once you go, someone else will be required to take your place and undergo the same level of senior incompetence, negligence, mismanagement, lake of care, etc. That person may not be as strong willed as you and may buckle under the pressure, not that anyone in SMT, HR or Welafre will gie a monkeys unless it looks as though the result may come back onto them – then watch the ranks close. I wish you well – I’ve been there.

    September 16th, 2008 at 21:45

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