This is a difficult time for police. It’s a difficult time for all the public sector as a whole as the government starts to tighten its reign on the public purse. I for one am not unaware of the difficulties the country faces and I’m prepared to do my bit to get us back on track. I’m no financial whizz though. I don’t understand the economy and the budgets in finite detail. I understand it in simpler terms… we are as a country overspent, in debt and need to sort it out.
If I apply this to my household budget I can visualise it much easier. I would make a debt reduction plan that was achievable. It would be a long term plan that included economising and a goal that would be reached without completely destroying my home and prevent me from putting food on the table.
I hold no complaint over the current incumbents… if not them then the opposition would be doing the same… just in a different way. Labour may pontificate and denounce the current policies but if the boot were on the other foot .. they would be coming for the same criticism. It has taken years and years of overspending to get to this situation and the politicians expect to sort out 50% of it in 4 years. I don’t see this happening somehow.
The police are coming for a fair amount of stick. The government is enforcing a 20% cut on the service as a whole. Yet they continue to put into the media comments that this is achievable without affecting front line policing. They are also peddling misinformation about police pay. We don’t get 4hrs overtime for a phone call and the additional payments we recieve stem from a policy they introduced that in many ways we didn’t want. Yet now those payments have become an issue they portray them as “our” fault.
Then we have the media. They latch onto a topic like a rabid dog and seek to sensationalise at every opportunity. I always thought Andrew Neal was an intelligent and reasonable man. I don’t have a TV.. I keep up with news through radio and internet… so maybe I miss something of his persona that would change my view. However, I recently watched a clip on the ‘net where he was interviewing the Chair of the Police Federation Paul McKeever. I have never seen such a one sided attack on someone from an “anchor” point of view. He asked questions of Mr McKeever that he should be asking Chief Constables. Mr McKeever doesn’t make policy. He represents the rights of the police who cannot strike or take industrial action. The body of people used regularly by the government as the solution to all problems when other areas of the public sector do take action. Mr Neal quoted all sorts of statistics surrounding resourcing that are not Mr McKeevers responsibility. He stated 90% of police officers were not available for front line duty.
The trouble with statistics is they can be managed to say what we want them to say. Mr Neal pushed the point that as 90% of us are sat on our rear twiddling our thumbs then savings could definately be made. Where does this figure come from? Does it include the officers dealing with detainees, the officers tied up on robbery or burglary squads, the officers in the various CTB’s that are doing important and valuable work but can’t just simply drop everything, don a uniform and rush out to a shoplifter or a pub fight?
The public have a right to know the truth. The media are misinformed and peddling false information that fuels the fire against the police … particularly for those who believe everything they read in The Sun. I’m sure the government love this as it furthers their cause. Oh but of course the government also speak from two sides… on one they say that cuts must be made and we get paid too much and get special bonuses and on the other they say we are marvellous, the best police in the world and something to be cherished.
This is somewhat like a serious domestic violence case. The government, like a domestic abuser beat us up and leave us black and blue. The next day they tell us they love us and really can’t live without us before beating us up again later on.