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The long term future of policing in the UK


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#1 Nykad21

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 06:13 PM

With all of the things that Police Forces and the officers/staff that work for them have had to endure in the last couple of years, I wonder exactly what the future holds?

The Winsor report has suggested many changes, big and small that will affect the way we do our jobs from now on. The current financial situation has also had a big affect on officers with our pay and pensions. No pay rises, paying more and getting less for many if not all current serving officers and no CRTP for new officers! The other side of that is the 20% budget cut means less cars, officers, support staff, back office functions gone and more focus towards centralising our work, etc.

My force now issues tactical vests and we all wear the national black uniform with boots. This is the standard for most forces in the UK and is a considerable change from the days of the custodian, trenchcoat and whistle! Is this the new standard or will we be looking like judge dredd in another 10, 20 years.

Scottish forces will be merging into a single force next year. Will we see the same thing happen in England and Wales or could the last governments plans In 2005/06 to merge the 43 forces to around 17 resurface in some form?

Response officer numbers are falling everywhere and response times are suffering as a result. There are less officers on shifts, will we see shifts changed and merged. What hours will we work, 8, 10, 12 or maybe even longer with a rest period like firefighters. Or could we become more like paramedics and have a few deployment stations and go anywhere in the force rather than just your division?

The federation have written a letter to the PM about the costing of taser for every officer in light of the lower officer numbers. Will a few more be issued or will we all get one?

Will there be another disturbance in the scale of the riots last year? Will we be able to deal with it with 6000 officers less? Will we see more officers trained to use baton guns? Will water cannons be bought and deployed?

With all the changes already made and those on the horizon, will the police be able to recruit and retain officers in the future? Will specials become a full reserve force like the TA or stay as the are?

I'd like to hear what anyone thinks about these points and any others that they want to make. What do you think the police will look like in the future with all of these changes. Will it be similar to what we know and love today and have done for many years or will it be radically different in a few years?

Edited by Nykad21, 09 September 2012 - 03:25 PM.


#2 SimonT

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 07:22 PM

Currently we do not police the country, we police a small proportion who call us the most and who commit the most crime.
Any pretence at actually preventing crime is falling by the wayside more and more and we spend almost all our time meeting targets for arbitrary priority offences.
I think this will get much worse as we barely manage firebrigade policing. We have been told not to reference a lack of resources when late but we always do because its true. This will get worse.
Instead of the super professional and trained service they want the management will get a haggred, weary and unmotivated group. Wary of keeping their own back covered from the knife they have to wear every day, poised to hammer home at a moment's notice.
We will soon all have taser for our protection and body worn video as well, turning us from real plane speaking officers into monosylabic pc robots.
Unreported crime will soar because we can't do anything about it.
So in essence - party on people, lets get some more deckchairs for the titanic!!

#3 Fritz@Customs

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 09:32 PM

Here's a plan. Start hoping for a minor inconvenience in service to the public and then get the papers to report it as loudly as possible.

As a result of losing officers, we saw a rapid decline in detections of drugs and weapons, never mind commercial quantities of booze and fags, and reduced numbers of false passports and illegal entrants detected. Did our political masters care?

But, as soon as people started having to queue at Heathrow, we ended up currently recruiting almost as many staff as we lost in the previous two years.

#4 Moxnil

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 10:06 PM

Currently we do not police the country, we police a small proportion who call us the most and who commit the most crime.
Any pretence at actually preventing crime is falling by the wayside more and more and we spend almost all our time meeting targets for arbitrary priority offences.
I think this will get much worse as we barely manage firebrigade policing. We have been told not to reference a lack of resources when late but we always do because its true. This will get worse.
Instead of the super professional and trained service they want the management will get a haggred, weary and unmotivated group. Wary of keeping their own back covered from the knife they have to wear every day, poised to hammer home at a moment's notice.
We will soon all have taser for our protection and body worn video as well, turning us from real plane speaking officers into monosylabic pc robots.
Unreported crime will soar because we can't do anything about it.
So in essence - party on people, lets get some more deckchairs for the titanic!!


So right. People just don't have any respect for authority anymore (People just don't have as much respect for other people but that's another issue). 30-40 years ago a stern word to your parents would have ended your criminal career right there. Now you'll just get told to solve "real" crimes, or just plain "F off".

I would like a police force (Yes, a force, not a service), where anyone in charge of any major decisions, strategy, or the issuing, or not issuing, of certain equipment etc, has to actually spend some time on the ground when it's introduced. If Jenny Jones had to police the riots last summer, maybe she'd have a different outlook on life.

#5 GeorgeH

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 02:42 PM

Your government wants to do more with less. It also wants to create more opportunities for the police service to generate revenue while at the same time decrease cost. What follows is my idea how they will do it:

1. The authority of the PCSO will be increased. They will be responsible for blight enforcement (noise, garbage, lawn, home exterior appearance, etc), parking enforcement, and other minor crime enforcement. They will be supported, when ever possible by specials and newly appointed officers. The purpose is to enhance both visibility and revenue enhancement.

2. The number of police stations will be reduced. In rural areas officers will be issued a car that they will get to take home and they will work out of detachments (rented space).

3. Police officers will be more mobile. They will respond to calls from PCSO and the public. But they will have a lower patrol profile.

4. Most of the command structure will be converted to a civilian system. Warranted ranks will stop around the Chief Inspector level. After that you will have professional administrators and civilian directors.

5. Retirement will be extended and educational requirements for being a police officer will be increased. CID will be regionalized for serious crimes. Local CID will serve as court support officers, preparing cases for court, and handling investigations tasked to them by the regional CID command structure.

6. Officers will be allowed to serve longer than age 60. But normal retirement will become 60 and in time 62.

7. Greater reliance of computers to allow members of the service to do their paperwork in the field, and to allow for paper reduction.

8. Use of computer analysis of crime trends will dictate personnel deployment decisions.

9. More aggressive police intelligence and crime suppression activities will be encouraged. In high crime areas plain clothes officers will be more common than uniformed officers. (PCSO will provided the visible police presence.)

10 Back room services (CCTV operators, clerical personnel, janitors, etc) will be privatized.

The goal is to increase visibility, increase revenue, decrease fixed expenses, decrease personnel costs, decrease pension costs, decrease community blight, increase enforcement levels, destroy criminal organizations.

Other related cost cutting measures would include to establish a national prisoner transport system. Regionalize pre-trial detention. Increase prisoner testing and early intervention programs. Create a "workfare" system where out of work individuals do menial public jobs in return for cash benefits.

#6 Moxnil

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:13 PM

But I think the public would be happier with PC's patrolling in general, not PCSO's. Does it cost more for a PC to be patrolling than a PCSO, and if so how much?

#7 SimonT

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:20 PM

Trouble is a patroling pc comes across things and has to deal, usually taking them off the street for hours. Whereas a pcso cant deal with that much so remain on patrol

#8 Nykad21

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:29 PM

Your government wants to do more with less. It also wants to create more opportunities for the police service to generate revenue while at the same time decrease cost. What follows is my idea how they will do it:

1. The authority of the PCSO will be increased. They will be responsible for blight enforcement (noise, garbage, lawn, home exterior appearance, etc), parking enforcement, and other minor crime enforcement. They will be supported, when ever possible by specials and newly appointed officers. The purpose is to enhance both visibility and revenue enhancement.

2. The number of police stations will be reduced. In rural areas officers will be issued a car that they will get to take home and they will work out of detachments (rented space).

3. Police officers will be more mobile. They will respond to calls from PCSO and the public. But they will have a lower patrol profile.

4. Most of the command structure will be converted to a civilian system. Warranted ranks will stop around the Chief Inspector level. After that you will have professional administrators and civilian directors.

5. Retirement will be extended and educational requirements for being a police officer will be increased. CID will be regionalized for serious crimes. Local CID will serve as court support officers, preparing cases for court, and handling investigations tasked to them by the regional CID command structure.

6. Officers will be allowed to serve longer than age 60. But normal retirement will become 60 and in time 62.

7. Greater reliance of computers to allow members of the service to do their paperwork in the field, and to allow for paper reduction.

8. Use of computer analysis of crime trends will dictate personnel deployment decisions.

9. More aggressive police intelligence and crime suppression activities will be encouraged. In high crime areas plain clothes officers will be more common than uniformed officers. (PCSO will provided the visible police presence.)

10 Back room services (CCTV operators, clerical personnel, janitors, etc) will be privatized.

The goal is to increase visibility, increase revenue, decrease fixed expenses, decrease personnel costs, decrease pension costs, decrease community blight, increase enforcement levels, destroy criminal organizations.

Other related cost cutting measures would include to establish a national prisoner transport system. Regionalize pre-trial detention. Increase prisoner testing and early intervention programs. Create a "workfare" system where out of work individuals do menial public jobs in return for cash benefits.


If a national prisoner transport system was created, then it could also pick up responsibility for wanted offenders. Particularly those that are wanted over a long time in a similar way to US Marshals. This might deter some criminals from running if they knew an entire force was after them!

#9 Moxnil

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:36 PM

Trouble is a patroling pc comes across things and has to deal, usually taking them off the street for hours. Whereas a pcso cant deal with that much so remain on patrol


So cut that horrible vicious mountain of paperwork, or get civilian staff (or maybe even PCSO's) to do the paperwork while the PC remains on patrol? A PCSO might have some local knowledge, but at the end of the day if anything kicks off, they have to get PC's in to deal with it. I think a community would feel safer when those patrolling it have full power of the officer of Constable.

#10 Anna32

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 04:04 PM

So cut that horrible vicious mountain of paperwork, or get civilian staff (or maybe even PCSO's) to do the paperwork while the PC remains on patrol? A PCSO might have some local knowledge, but at the end of the day if anything kicks off, they have to get PC's in to deal with it. I think a community would feel safer when those patrolling it have full power of the officer of Constable.


Unlikely, sadly. Civilian staff have been decimated and officers are more likely to be covering for them than the other way round. As for paperwork, there have been a lot of promises but no reductions as yet. ("Better use of IT?" That costs money and we don't really have any. And that means outsourcing...)

#11 SimonT

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 04:05 PM

There is no way we could have enough police officers to maintain a useful foot patrol . We can just about manage with the occasional one with a pcso from neighbourhood. There is no way we will get more officers.
There have been plenty of attempts to reduce paperwork, each one has increased it. I have had more paperwork every year since I started and that's on top of having more work as well

#12 Nykad21

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 06:26 PM

There is no way we could have enough police officers to maintain a useful foot patrol . We can just about manage with the occasional one with a pcso from neighbourhood. There is no way we will get more officers.
There have been plenty of attempts to reduce paperwork, each one has increased it. I have had more paperwork every year since I started and that's on top of having more work as well


I still don't understand why once we have dealt with a person and generated a file for them on the local system once, why we can't just print off a generic form with the information on it on every subsequent occasion we need to deal with them. I'm specifically thinking of things like a DASH or missing persons report for our "regulars" as spending an hour or 2 at a scene writing everything down from scratch is a pain! It would be far quicker to print off a pro forma and then just add the unique parts of an incident and any personal details that have changed.

With all of the changes to Police Officer conditions, I wonder how much of a leap it would be for PCSO's to be become full PC's in the future?

#13 GeorgeH

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 09:08 PM

If a national prisoner transport system was created, then it could also pick up responsibility for wanted offenders. Particularly those that are wanted over a long time in a similar way to US Marshals. This might deter some criminals from running if they knew an entire force was after them!


The U.S. Marshal Service is the law enforcement arm of the federal court system. In my post, I was not suggesting creating a U.K. clone. Rather, I was trying to point out that regionalized pre-trial detention and a uniform transport system could take advantage of economy of scale.

So cut that horrible vicious mountain of paperwork, or get civilian staff (or maybe even PCSO's) to do the paperwork while the PC remains on patrol? A PCSO might have some local knowledge, but at the end of the day if anything kicks off, they have to get PC's in to deal with it. I think a community would feel safer when those patrolling it have full power of the officer of Constable.


The public will not know the difference. They will be the one on the street with the "the custodian, trenchcoat and whistle."

#14 GeorgeH

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 09:12 PM

With all of the changes to Police Officer conditions, I wonder how much of a leap it would be for PCSO's to be become full PC's in the future?


Not much. The educational requirements to be a regular police officer would be increased. They will be required to have a university degree or a combination of university education and military service. The same will be true of Specials. Becoming a PCSO will be its own career choice.

#15 Nykad21

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 09:57 PM

The U.S. Marshal Service is the law enforcement arm of the federal court system. In my post, I was not suggesting creating a U.K. clone. Rather, I was trying to point out that regionalized pre-trial detention and a uniform transport system could take advantage of economy of scale.


Yes I see, still it would be interesting if the UK had something along those lines.

#16 GeorgeH

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 03:01 AM

It could. It could create a unit within your Security Service to apprehend fugitives. It would be a natural extension of what they currently due. It would also provide an avenue for some good public relations. A function that your government is woefully deficient in.

#17 Rogue Trooper

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:32 AM

Unlikely, sadly. Civilian staff have been decimated and officers are more likely to be covering for them than the other way round. As for paperwork, there have been a lot of promises but no reductions as yet. ("Better use of IT?" That costs money and we don't really have any. And that means outsourcing...)



From what I've seen, and from talking to those with a greater length of service, the greater part of the increases in paperwork seems to have come about as a result of the demands made by the defence side. There's no real way that I can see for the police service to be able to reduce that, as it's not in their control.

#18 Nykad21

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 11:58 PM

I would suggest that a fair amount comes from duplication and over complicated forms. I think that Increased mobile data capability combined with more systems linked with each other (CPS, file systems and custody for example) would reduce these problems. I personally don't understand why we have one police national computer and 43 local systems.

#19 stewie_griffin

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:04 AM

The police are their own worst enemies when it comes to paperwork. The single NICHE-based, IT system I use now serves the same ends as the multiple systems I used in the UK, what's more it's pretty much paperless and dead easy to use (we have NICHE but the bosses thought it was so complex that they had a 'gateway' built to make it easy enough for bobbies to use). The files we write-up are electronically forwarded to the support unit who check everything's there and then they send it on to our equivalent of the CPS. The whole system is totally mobile and combines an intel system.

We don't have the large, expensive office-based units that used to plague front-line officers when I was in the UK.

We don't have custody sergeants, just a jailer on a Friday and Saturday night for when it's busy.

We don't investigate the bejaysus out of every trivial incident, which gives us more manpower when the big one comes in.

We DO have a dog unit never more than about 10 minutes away AND a helicopter that actually sometimes just patrols, looking for stuff.

Someone needs to decide what the police are there for: a criminal justice bureaucracy or a crime fighting organisation?

#20 SimonT

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:22 AM

Our paperwork can generally be divided into 2 parts. Stuff for court and stuff for ourselves.

Court files are massive and reach inches thick for a trial even if its the most basic offence. Breach of court bail files are staggeringly huge for no reason, hundreds of pieces of paper for someone who has breached a curfew and goes to court to be told not to do that.
Most of the court nonsense is because the defence can see everything and demand everything and if we dont have everything possible in the file and they 'need' it then thats the trial in trouble.
The government, cps and everyone in the cjs needs to do something about that, but they wont. Consequentially we employ probably hundreds of people to build and prepare case files.

The other half is our own paperwork, which gets added to about once a month with a new form, same as the old but not replacing it, just adding. I could go into plenty of examples which are are quite lengthy, duplicate everything and if you actually look at them properly dont do anything at all. Its all about covering our behinds and unfortunately thats never going to change.
The most frustrating thing is when you go to the same old family who have had an argument, like they do every day and police get involved you have to put in pages and pages of paperwork because its domestic. The same information as last time, the same information as the next, all of which is entirely irrelevant because all our domestic violence support organisations and systems require people to want them, and these people do not care, they are irritated that we keep attending and asking them irritating questions. But we keep on, for no productive reason.

If you got rid of all this nonsense we would immediately have about 50 percent more officers available and slash overtime to almost nothing




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