Monday, 14 October 2013

Direct Entry to Madness

Today marks a sad day in history for British policing and will pass us by relatively unnoticed.

Its a day where common sense is over ruled by the need of politicians wanting to get more and more control and say over the way policing is made in this country.

A day where once the police were a force, became a service, will now be a business.
Today marks the end of the policing rule of "rising through the ranks" and instead, recruits from 2014 can, with the "right" qualifications be recruited at direct entry from Inspector and above.

Gone is the rule that a British citizen can be a police chief. From 2014 any former foreign police chief or military officer will be able to apply for the role of Chief Constable or Commissioner.

Since Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan Police in 1829, the only way to enter the force has been to join as a constable.

Those rules have come under pressure in recent years, with critics saying the police need to open up to a wider pool of talent to ensure forces have specialist skills, especially in management and information technology.

Damien Green the Police Minister has stated that this effectively stops the "Closed shop of the police service"

A "Closed Shop" that has been in place in this country for a very good reason.
The Police Force/Service call it what you want, should not and never be treated or run like a business.

From 2014 Graduates will be able to apply directly to become a Senior Manager and for an Inspector this will be achieved in a fast tracked three years.

The Inspector rank has been respected for many years, why? Because we know that whether we like the Inspector or not, that person has been on the factory floor and has got their hands dirty and earned their rank.

Their experience in the Job has allowed them to be capable in that role which we can call upon should the need arise. Whether that be for an important tactical decision or for day to day running of a shift.

It takes two years to become a qualified police constable. From day one, week one at training college to the day you are confirmed.

During this time the constable is monitored, tested, vetted and learning to make sure they fit the grade. Even after two years you are still on a steep upward learning curve and although this does ease off, you never stop learning.

Now they say Police Inspectors can be fast tracked to the rank from recruit in three years?

From 2014 an Oxford University Graduate with little or no life experience can suddenly think "I fancy being a police officer"

They will then be force fed all the necessary training, fast tracked and be expected to make difficult decisions that other officers of that rank who made it through years of experience will have to make.

Could you imagine the situation with the 2011 England riots and important tactical decisions having to be made by someone who had just walked out of Uni?

Would that decision result in the arrests of suspects and successfully contained rioting or potentially the deaths of public and officers?

This is not scare mongering, this is real life.

I wouldn't expect to be able to walk into any job and do theirs without adequate training, supervision and progress through the years before I could take over a role as someone in charge.

I understand that the higher the rank in the police the more they become managers, in charge of budgets and resources but these officers understand the factory floor and know what officers can and cannot do.

These officers are still required to make important tactical decisions and be able to attend incidents to deliver or control them and they can do that calling on their vast experience.

With someone walking in who was director of a business, yes, they can do the budgets etc but policing is not a business, they will not be able to make the same tactical decisions based on experience.

They simply do not have it.

Would a former manager of Tesco be able to make a critical life and death decision when in their previous company the worse that could have happened is you lost a few pounds?

The wrong decision in the police could cost someone their life.

What makes no sense at all is that redundancy is being brought in to remove officers with experience and yet direct entry to the rank is being brought in for those with no experience.

If this is the case you will have people wanting to join the police with no experience policing at management level.

With all the changes to the terms and conditions to the police, gone will be experienced officers who can make split second decisions based on their knowledge gained.

Instead you will have people dipping in and out of The Job because they fancy it and in five years will be gone. These officers will be lead by former managers of companies who also, won't have a clue.

This will create an "Officer Class" amongst the ranks. A division that cannot be crossed where possibly the rank of Inspector will become the equivalent of the Military, Non Commissioned Officer.

What chance has a Private becoming a General? What chance then has a Constable becoming a Superintendent or even Commissioner?

I was told that I was sensationalising on Twitter when I said that an inexperienced cop could end up running a Borough or investigating a major crime.

I don't think it's sensationalising at all.

It could end up with someone who's been fast tracked through their probation and given a rank ending up in charge of officers with many years of experience just brushed over.

I've seen many officers including myself, fail the Sergeants exam by a mere one or two percent and whist I appreciate that a miss is as good as a mile.

I still see brilliant officers fail to meet the grade because they cannot pass an exam. Whilst those who can, some of those make crap senior officers because they were crap Constables.

The public are going to suffer.

This will be policing of the future:

You come home and find you have a burglary. You call 999 sponsored by Thames Water and after numerous options finally get through to a operator run by a contract call centre in Cardiff and ask for police.

After being asked if you want extra insurance or pipe cover you are despatched an officer aged 20 who's been in the job for six months and a recent university graduate.

Because they don't know what to do whilst on scene (as this is their first burglary) they call their Inspector who is a direct entry recruit and a former retail manager but has less time in than the officer they have sent to you.

After looking through a manual they have been given and a look around for an experienced officer to speak to but cannot find one as they have all been made redundant, they send out a scene of crime officer who is employed by G4S.

They will only be there an hour as they are booked for an appointment to go some where else and they will lose money if they are not there on time.

This is all taking too long because the contract CSI has spilt their fingerprint powder all over your carpet and everyone is made to leave by the officer in charge who is now worried about the budget for officer over-time and powder stain removal.

Leaving you wondering why you even bothered.

You make a complaint to the Superintendent a former Argos Executive who invites you in to speak to them.

You wait at the customer service desk with lots of others also making complaints, and take a number and wait for it to be called.

Which is a bit of luck really as the Superintendent in charge of customer service today used to run a chain of butchers last year.

I'm going to apply to become a brain surgeon. I can deal with blood and I fancy the money. I'm sure that someone with experience could make the very difficult decisions for me.

What could possibly go wrong?

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