Police numbers plummet as crime rises

“The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by 1,213 in six months and is now 16% below its 2009 peak, official figures have shown. The latest Home Office statistics put the number of officers in the 43 police forces in England and Wales on 30 September last year at 121,929, down from 123,142 on 31 March last year and from 144,353 in 2009.

In evidence submitted to the police remuneration review body last week, the Home Office made clear that no more central funding would be available for the pay settlement, describing the recruitment and retention of officers as “stable”. But Labour said that was out of touch with reality, given the figures.

The shadow policing minister, Louise Haigh, said: “Once again we see how out of touch the Conservatives are with the lives of people across this country. Over 1,200 officers lost in just six months, more than 21,000 in total under this Tory government, against a backdrop of the highest rises in recorded crime in a decade.

“And yet ministers apparently think everything’s fine. Labour in government will add 10,000 police officers and provide the resources they need.” …

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/13/police-numbers-drop-by-1200-in-six-months-as-wage-bill-frozen

Devon police numbers down by 10% in 5 years

Owl wonders how many extra police officers we could have if we abolished the office of Police and Crime Commissioner?

“There are almost 10 per cent less police officers on Devon’s streets than five years ago, new figures have revealed.

The number of neighbourhood officers employed by Devon and Cornwall Police is down by a huge 58 per cent during that period with local PCSOs down by 13 per cent.

During the five year period Devon and Cornwall suffered a net loss of 311 officers with there now being 367 fewer police on the streets than in 2012, according figures released by the BBC shared data unit.

Devon and Cornwall Police said that the reduction in numbers do not reflect the ‘wider police roles visible in our communities’.

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “There is no doubt policing numbers have seen a reduction in the last six years across many areas of the force.

“Supporting local communities with a visible neighbourhood policing presence remains critically important and a bedrock of policing in Devon and Cornwall.

“While the figures released may show a reduction in the number of dedicated neighbourhood staff, they do not demonstrate the number of wider police roles visible in our communities.

“Neighbourhood policing is part of every police officer and PCSO’s business, so also includes response officers, local investigation staff and other operational officers who are not reflected in these figures.”

ACC Colwell added: “The way in which we police our communities is evolving and officer’s roles and responsibilities need to change with this.

“As a force we are constantly assessing threat, harm and risk to our local communities and flexing our policing resources to meet these challenges and demands.

“We have been very honest and open with the public while making these changes and having to place greater resources in areas hidden from public view – such as child sexual exploitation and other online crime.

“Indeed, overall policing numbers in Devon and Cornwall are set to increase in the coming year to give an increased frontline presence across the entire force area.

“Within this is a firm commitment between ourselves and the Police and Crime Commissioner to maintain a dedicated neighbourhood policing model.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/latest-figures-show-devon-lost-1146590

Police and Crime Commissioner wants our opinion on raising police precept

Sadly, she doesn’t want our opinion on the vast sum of money wasted on her and her employees which appears to be somewhere between more £1 million and up to £3 m depending on where you look (Owl is not an accountant) – with, of course, more staff to help her.

https://devonandcornwall.s3.amazonaws.com/Documents/About%20Us/What%20we%20spend/STA_REP_statement-of-account-YE-31.03.17_170929.pdf
(pages 12, 24 and 26)

“The Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez invites you to take part in a survey about increasing the precept for police funding in your area. Please click on the attached link to take part.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/G2S8QP7

Thank you.
Message Sent By
Natasha Radford (Police, Community Messaging Officer, Devon and Cornwall)”

“Freemasons are blocking reform, says Police Federation leader”

Remember how Owl was taken to task for saying planners took more notice of Freemasons than town councillors …

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/12/15/buckfastleigh-dissolves-its-planning-committee-as-district-and-county-councils-take-no-notice-of-its-recommendations/

Well …

“Reform in policing is being blocked by members of the Freemasons, and their influence in the service is thwarting the progress of women and people from black and minority ethnic communities, the leader of rank-and-file officers has said.

Steve White, who steps down on Monday after three years as chair of the Police Federation, told the Guardian he was concerned about the continued influence of Freemasons.

White took charge with the government threatening to take over the federation if it did not reform after a string of scandals and controversies.

The Freemasons is one of the world’s oldest secular societies, made up of people, predominantly men, concerned with moral and spiritual values. Their critics say they are secretive and serve the interests of their members over the interests of the public. The Masons deny this, saying they uphold values in keeping with public service and high morals.

White told the Guardian: “What people do in their private lives is a matter for them. When it becomes an issue is when it affects their work. There have been occasions when colleagues of mine have suspected that Freemasons have been an obstacle to reform.

“We need to make sure that people are making decisions for the right reasons and there is a need for future continuing cultural reform in the Fed, which should be reflective of the makeup of policing.”

One previous Metropolitan police commissioner, the late Sir Kenneth Newman, opposed the presence of Masons in the police.

White would not name names, but did not deny that some key figures in local Police Federation branches were Masons.

White said: “It’s about trust and confidence. There are people who feel that being a Freemason and a police officer is not necessarily a good idea. I find it odd that there are pockets of the organisation where a significant number of representatives are Freemasons.”

The Masons deny any clash or reason police officers should not be members of their organisation.

Mike Baker, spokesman for the United Grand Lodge, said: “Why would there be a clash? It’s the same as saying there would be a clash between anyone in a membership organisation and in a public service.

“We are parallel organisations, we fit into these organisations and have high moral principles and values.”

Baker said Freemasonry was open to all, the only requirement being “faith in a supreme being”. He said there were a number of police officers who were Masons and police lodges, such as the Manor of St James, set up for Scotland Yard officers, and Sine Favore, set up in 2010 by Police Federation members. One of those was the Met officer John Tully, who went on to be chair of the federation and, after retirement from policing, is an administrator at the United Grand Lodge of England.

Masons in the police have been accused of covering up for fellow members and favouring them for promotion over more talented, non-Mason officers.

White said: “Some female representatives were concerned about Freemason influence in the Fed. The culture is something that can either discourage or encourage people from the ethnic minorities or women from being part of an organisation.”

The federation has passed new rules on how it runs itself, aimed at ending the fact that its key senior officials are all white, and predominantly male.

White said he hoped the new rules would lead to an end to old white men dominating the federation: “The new regulations will mean Freemasons leading to an old boys’ network will be much less likely in the future. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/31/freemasons-blocking-reform-police-federation-leader

“FIFTH vote of no confidence for police and crime commissioner”

“Councillors will be asked to vote on a fourth motion of no confidence in police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez next week. The controversial politician has lost one council bid to unseat her, survived two others and narrowly avoided a fourth which was withdrawn ahead of a meeting.

None of the political resolutions have any teeth and Ms Hernandez has accused opponents of “naked politicking”.

Earlier moves have followed comments she made on a BBC radio phone-in about armed civilians and terrorists and claims that her plan to develop community policing was failing.

The latest attempt comes at Cornwall Council where Tim Dwelly, leader of the Labour group at County Hall, will table a motion an next week’s full council meeting.” …

http://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/fifth-vote-no-confidence-police-770955

“Now police chief Alison Hernandez faces a no confidence vote from her own former colleagues”

It seems only local Conservative politicians are prepared to keep her – what a surprise! In any other walk of life she would probably now be at the job centre. What a waste of our money.

“Police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez faces another vote of no confidence this week – from her own former council colleagues. Ms Hernandez was a member of Torbay Council before she took on the job as Devon and Cornwall’s police chief.

Now her old council will be the latest to move for a vote of no confidence in her. The Conservative commissioner has already endured votes of no confidence from Plymouth City Council, which she lost, and another by the police scrutiny panel, which she won.

Devon County Council’s cabinet also backed the commissioner last month. Cornish councillors are also expected to have a similar discussion this month.

Now Liberal Democrat councillors in Torbay have her in their sights. They are angry at police cuts as well as Ms Hernandez’ comments on using armed volunteers in response to terrorist incidents and her attempts to appoint a deputy.

They have also not forgiven her for taking a ‘selfie’ with firefighters at the Exeter Royal Clarence Hotel fire.

A motion to the council meeting on Thursday, proposed by Nick Pentney and seconded by Cindy Stocks, is headed ‘Crisis in Frontline Policing in Torbay’ and reads: “Torbay Council is extremely alarmed that under the watch of Alison Hernandez, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of PCSOs, the eyes and ears of the force in Torbay. …”

http://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/now-police-chief-alison-hernandez-632726

Communications gaffe costs police equivalent of 7,800 jobs

“The £4 billion upgrade to emergency services communications is already years behind schedule, and there are growing concerns that critical elements of it cannot work.

Incredibly, the technology does not even exist to operate the new generation of radios in police helicopters, while hundreds of extra phone masts must be built before the network can be used in rural areas.

Police leaders fear these unresolved problems will push the start date for the Emergency Services Network (ESN) back again, leaving them with a huge bill for keeping the existing Airwave radio system switched on as they pay for the development of its replacement. …

… Earlier this year, the Home Office admitted the transition period would have to continue until September 2020, nine months after the expected ‘national shutdown date’ for Airwave.

But a key part of the Airwave infrastructure is due to stop working six months earlier in March 2020, in what MPs on the influential Public Accounts Committee described as a ‘potentially catastrophic blow to the ability of our emergency services to carry out their job and keep citizens safe’.

A restricted document written for the National Police Chiefs Council this summer claims it would cost ‘£403 million or 7,800 constables’ if forces had to pay for an extra year of running Airwave.

Last night, the national police lead for the project, Deputy Chief Constable Richard Morris, said: ‘The Government has a contingency plan in place and has extended all Airwave contracts to December 31, 2019.’

The Home Office said: ‘Emergency services will only transition when they are satisfied with the new network.’ “

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4959474/Delays-police-radio-cost-salaries-8-000-PCs.html