I work as a response officer. I've seen my shift butchered for just about everything.. the area we cover used to have shifts of about 15 or more officers and today barely has 5 if we are very lucky!!
Ok, we've got a bunch of cops off on sick. A bunch on annual leave. A bunch on maternity leave. Oh yeah, let's not forget the bunch on "light duties" because they apparently have stubbed their toe or are frightened to work nights or they have some issue around childcare or something that apparently precludes them from doing real police work.
You'd think that'd be about it wouldn't you? That PROBABLY makes up for around 15-20% of cops who aren't on the streets... This is normal. It's accounted for (mostly) and it's a part of operating ANY business/organisation in Britain today.
Then you get the next bit..
You've got PC's abstracted from shift to cover Gaoler positions. We, like most other forces in the country have CIVILIANISED many positions, this is one of them... so WHY are PC's covering for Gaolers? Then you've got PC's covering for front desk staff in the station! Again, another Civvie position.. so why is a warranted officer covering that?
The above officers who aren't on shift, aren't deployable, aren't available for jobs are NOT an abstraction from shift strength (so apparently we don't need more people on the street on a Friday late shift???)
Add to the above the officer out doing a half day course that she asked for 18 months before. She's not abstracted either. But she isn't deployable!
And perhaps the other officer with a bail return.
Oh, we've now got 1, maybe 2 officers available for jobs... come the first RTI with anything complicated and we are all stuffed.
Oh yeah, that's not what we were discussing though.
So the rest of the officers.. considering that we've got more police in this country than ever before in the history of policing.
Where are they?
You guessed it.
They'll be sitting in some cushy little office somewhere adding notes to your case files telling you how you did something wrong, or telling you to go and do something because THEIR department doesn't have the time to do it (or simply don't want to leave their air conditioned office to do it).. or tasking you to do other complete loads of nonsense. And generally just creating more work and more confusion for everyone (empire building, it's great isn't it?)
And we've got the OTHER initiatives which are created thanks to the Home Office saying "Let's create this and it'll make the police more efficient because there aren't enough police on the streets!!!" Like F*&k, we aren't on the streets because of the mountains of paperwork created by stupid empire building wankers!
Here's one... like bringing back Beat officers so they can sit in their office and ignore the radio.. then get up, drive through where you are struggling as a lone officer directing traffic at a busy 4 way intersection on their way to a VERY IMPORTANT MEETING (thus why they couldn't help you). Most other countries that I've visited have only ONE type of police officer.. they are out on the streets no matter what!
Oh yeah, there are millions of these. I could name dozens of little things that were invented in just the last 3 or 4 years which have taken front line police officers off the front line!
Why can't we just have POLICE. All police can be deployed to a job, no matter what you are doing unless you are busy in custody. WHY do we need a specific officer to "apparently" walk along your streets? I'll tell you what the ONLY officer who walks along MY street is a Community Support Officer!!! I've NEVER seen the police in my street otherwise.. (Despite calling them to the louts down the road who never seem to quit being noisy).
I'm appalled by it all. I pay my tax and I say we should have less bureaucracy and more police back out on the streets, doing things that are useful and right.
Oh it just pisses me right off! I could rant for days on this subject... and of course I could dig up figures if I had to.. actual proper percentages for where the police are and why they aren't on the streets but hey.. I'm sure you can use your imagination and picture the shiny arses writing manuals and printing out guidelines on how the real police should do their job!