Fake numbers

Great news! The Government has lifted the one per cent pay cap for both police and prison officers. Actually it hasn’t, sorry, it has been very sneaky. I hope Home Secretary Amber Rudd and the new policing minister do not expect thousands of officers on leave with stress to suddenly jump out of their sick beds and return to work after hearing the announcement.

Sep 13, 2017

Great news! The Government has lifted the one per cent pay cap for both police and prison officers. Actually it hasn’t, sorry, it has been very sneaky. I hope Home Secretary Amber Rudd and the new policing minister do not expect thousands of officers on leave with stress to suddenly jump out of their sick beds and return to work after hearing the announcement. One colleague was only yesterday told she was going to have to travel an extra 15 miles to work, then today heard inflation had gone up by almost three per cent, partly because of fuel prices. Please do not expect her to whoop with joy and start whistling as she patrols because of a temporary bonus that falls well short of the increase in cost of living. The Policing Minister says he is not deaf to what officers have been saying, but around here he is being called Nick ‘has not’ Hurd. Rhetorical question: Will this rise really help forces improve the way they record and resolve calls for help? Essex residents hope so. (As yet) unnamed officers are in trouble for telling a local businessman that they were too busy to investigate the theft of £26,000 worth of garden furniture from his company, despite his having supplied them with CCTV footage of the theft. Instead, they sent an email claiming that “officers are unable to assist as they are at saturation point with their workload”. In fairness to the officer manning the email machine, any thorough dynamic risk assessment would have indicated that there is very little demand for garden furniture at this time of year, and they could have kept their eyes open next Spring. The officers do appear to have at least managed to record the crime correctly, which might save them from the sword. Other forces may or may not be investigating crimes where CCTV is produced, if we are to believe the nation’s longest acronym, HMICFRS (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services). It has inspected 14 forces since August 2016 and claims they have failed to record about 219,900 crimes. HMICFRS also says West Midlands Police (WMP) records just five out of six crimes, which means it misses 38,800 a year. This sounds a lot, and the omissions include serious sexual offences, domestic abuse and rape. WMP is not alone. Leicestershire Police has improved its recording in the past few years, but still stands accused of failing to record about one in four crimes, which puts it narrowly ahead, or behind, its larger neighbours. WMP Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe says her force ‘broadly accepts’ the data but disputes the conclusion, claiming that: “A significant number of these incidents were recorded on our systems but just not classified correctly… this report focuses on our technical compliance with the National Crime Recording System and… is about administration and the interaction between different computer systems used to record crime.” That’s OK then. Her police and crime commissioner David Jamieson has asked for rapid improvements but hasn’t explained how, when or where this is to be done. The ‘administrative shortfalls’ and ‘interactions between computers’ leave victims at risk, offenders at liberty and property unrecovered, all things that the police were created to resolve. To leave the resolution of these issues to those who have created the problem seems risky. Maybe they could call in statistical ace Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott for guidance? I will examine my pay packet very carefully next month – just in case Home Office civil servants have done the sums. Yours, Stitch

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