A positive attitude- Policing in the Modern Day UK
This blog is slightly different from the others as one of my subscribers told me I must hate my job because I constantly write negative things. Well not necessarily. I was also told that in order to be noticed for further promotion that I should swallow the corporate pill and act more in agreement with changes and attitudes rather than moan and whinge like the majority would.
So what do you think? Should we be positive about our careers and if so, what is the most positive aspect of your work. I am trying to think of gripes and turn them in to a positive.
‘think think think think’ said Pooh…….
For as long as I can remember I had always wanted to be a police officer. Really. I remember wanting to be on the motorcycle section when I was about eight years old. I saw these leather clad officers on massive BMW’s looking really cool and as I was a biker chick in the steps of my father- yes I do ride and no it wasn’t the leather, just making that clear…… Anyway, back to the point.
At around 12-13years I then decided I wanted to be in the Mounted Branch, yes Horses! I hadn’t really ridden but it looked a fantastic wheeze and again they just looked so…. so…… Awesome
I diverted for a while and joined in my 20’s after the old times when female PC’s were asked in interview ‘are you going to have baby?’ if the answer was yes that equalled no job.
This was a time when we were all in it together, no women’s department, only PC’s, no WPC’s, but our numbers began with a telltale number at the start to show we were female. It still throws me now since it was scrapped and have to double take and think hang on……. Anyway, I digress.
The point is its something that I have alway wanted to do, and it was my proudest moment to be able to do my attestation to be a Police Officer, okay I used to be in the Special Constabulary and worked 80+hours a month as it was like a drug, I couldn’t get enough, the adrenalin rush was great, I didn’t understand the full extent of what was involved regarding paperwork and red tape, but I was determined.
I joined the job full time and every day through my probation period, particularly being tutored, I would drive into work feeling so happy, on a cloud, smiling and giving myself that pat on the back.
Half way through my career I reflect on how far I have come. I have risen through the ranks, progressing on my own terms, not batting my eyelids, nor swallowing the corporate pill, and just got there just being ‘Me’. I am proud of that, but is that enough? Do I now need to step up my game?
I hear the gripes and concerns about Winsor and the current issues for officers and think ‘well we do have a job’ Positive
But I am being asked to work harder with less staff for less money. Are people aware that we are paying an extra 2.5% on our pensions, if they are, Do they know what percentage that is now and what it was? A PC would have to pay £21,000 in to their pension to get £10,000 out? Yes, the pension is good, but only because we pay for it, and are one of the highest contributors in pensions in the public sector. I would like to think that people agree that we work hard for what might be a short retirement before we leave this mortal earth. The average years a PC would live after retirement was 5 years if they kept up with the shift and the physically demanding front line role. Is that what they are trying to do again? Pay hundreds of thousands in to get hardly any back?
Ok, maybe that wasn’t a good example, let’s try another.
I hear officers saying that they find it difficult to get out on patrol because of the paperwork and red tape. I think ‘we do have civilian support’ Positive
We do have civilian support, and will not knock the support we do have, however, I do not believe that employing security staff to ‘patrol’, become ‘custody officers’ or ‘traffic officers’ is the way to go. I have wondered why PCSO’s were invented, and then lasted a long time, and again, my issue isn’t with them, but it was clear that they were brought in for a reason. It was talked about at the time, having a PC as a ‘supervisor’ with PCSO’s ‘under’ them, no Sergeants, Inspectors would be brought in on a graduate level as ‘professional’ managers, I could see it all panning out in front of my eyes. Gone are the days where the experience you brought with you as a PC to a Sergeant, to Inspector and so on was your grounding, it was your bread and butter, it was learning the law, it was the pounding of the beat, it was the experience on the ground that was the making of a good officer of the next rank. Of course there are those that could do the exams, but weren’t necessarily the making for the next level, and that’s why we have Boards, although, again, some Forces it’s ‘if your face fits’ or ‘you are being sponsored’, we all are aware of that, but the fact that they had done at least a small while in the role helped. Now it will be more about business managers, productivity, more the ‘Robocop’ role with managers looking at figures of individual officers to see if they are eligible for their wage or a drop for under performance.
A Police Officer does still have an ounce of respect from some parts of the community, PCSO’s maybe less, but how much respect does a security officer patrolling the street in an orange jacket really getting? I guess, thinking positively Police may get more respect as there will be so few of us that people will give Police Officers a little more quodos, we will deal with the real Policing issues, not the dregs that come in, and technology will be such that by the time we have said ‘one arrested’, or statements will be typed up by our personal PA’s sent to our custody and printed off………No?
When officers used to do Football duties it was a sea of yellow Police jackets. Now it’s a sea of Orange being paid £24 for the game, quivering in their boots in case anything happens, and there will be one Public Order Van outside with 4 PC’s, a Special and a PCSO.
I am digressing, however, the point I am making is that civilian staff are good at what they do, but I do not understand why giving them extra powers will help. Hang on, be positive, it means they will free up our time so we will have less paperwork and we will be left to do the ‘Real Policing’. Now I’m getting better. Ah, No, you see, now I have a nagging ‘it’s because the cost less’ voice in my head.
If we run in to any trouble are these security staff out on the streets going to have powers to detain?, assist with violent persons? Deal with ASBO with the ability to do more than just ‘detain’ for half an hour to wait for us? I think perhaps not. Who knows but it looks like its coming whether we like it or not, and we don’t have to like it, but it’s going to happen which ever Government we have. Which of the parties have you heard to support us and promise to scrap Winsor? Scared they might be next? After all, look at the lash up of the Railways.
I am sincere when I say I love my career.
What I don’t love is people screwing with us and expect us to be all sheep and go off following the herd swallowing the mashed up pill put in with our food.
The reason we do this job is because we all, well most of us, have common sense to think outside the box, we do care what happens to our careers, our families and our communities, and we don’t want it to all go down the pan for the sake of saving a quick buck. Perhaps now being in a double dip recession, and the debt of a third world country even before the Olympics are even started, I just wish, before they try and hack up the remaining parts of our Police Service, that we still stand proud and say
I am proud to be a Police Officer.