I bumped into an old mate this week. I’d nipped out of the control room to grab a bite to eat & he was up getting his radio repaired.
I’ve known him since he joined the job about 5 years ago, worked with him for a while. He rapidly grew into one of those officers you really wanted on the team & felt comfortable working with. His keenness wasn’t diminished as he went though his probation as so often happens.
Once people get their area car course it’s uncanny how many, who were once keen as mustard, fall into a group who want to pick & chose what they go to & whinge about jobs they don’t like doing.
Not Rob, he remained keen. His driving courses just brought up more opportunity to go out there, nick bad people & help those who needed it.
A couple of months ago his hard work & keenness was rewarded & he was asked if he wanted to do a bit of acting. I’m not sure if he’s passed the sergeants exam or not, to be honest, I knew he was studying for it. Anyway, he’s now an acting sergeant on a team of 6 or 8 officers. I spoke to him right at the start & he seemed really pleased. Although he was a bit concerned about not being so ‘hands on’ as a supervisor but he had decided to get out there with the troops as often as he could.
He’s a completely changed man. If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t have believed it. He is completely demoralised. He has no interest in doing police work & seems to live for the time when he can go off duty & onto rest days.
The reason is simple. He no longer feels he is a policeman. His time is taken up with reviewing every-one’s performance, checking stats charts & answering hundreds of emails from the office-wallahs. He said, & no kidding, he can sort through 20 or 30 emails during the first part of the shift, go forÃ‚Â a piss & 10 more are sitting in his in-box by the time he gets back.
Any encouragement from the inspector or chief inspector is limited to encouraging him to chase up the officers on the team to get their sanctioned detection targets. He rarely gets out of the building, much less to a job. He is getting pressure from on high to send his officers to simple arrest warrant enquiries than to deal with people who have been beaten up or burgled.
I was quite shocked, to be honest, it’s not that I didn’t know any of this, it;s been going this way for a long time now, it’s that I didn’t realise what a thoroughly negative impact it could have on someone, who up until now, was one of the best officers I’ve worked with.
He wants to come off the acting sergeant programme & go to another shift, somewhere he can get back to doing what he likes best, helping people & locking up the baddies. I have a feeling they won’t let him, for some time & another wasted soul will end up number-crunching in some office in the bowels of the local nick.