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  1. Six police and crime commissioners have threatened the Home Office with legal action over changes to the way police forces in England and Wales are funded. The group, which also includes London's deputy mayor for policing, have written to the government arguing proposals are "deeply flawed", the Independent said. The signatories, five of whom are Tories, say they will seek a judicial review unless the changes are halted. The government has said the old funding formula was "not fit for purpose". New proposals, which the Home Office is currently consulting on, set out changes to the way central government allocates funding to the 43 forces in England and Wales. Image copyrightPA Under the proposals, funding would take into account five features of local areas, including population and the number of council tax band D or equivalent properties in the area, because of the contributions to police from council tax. Other factors would include the number of households with no working adult and dependent children, a "hard-pressed" population indicator - which covers a wide range of types of households, and the number of bars per hectare. While some forces could see their budgets increase under the new system, analysts suggest 11 forces could lose out on funding. The letter to Policing Minister Mike Penning, warning that the proposals are "unfair, unjustified and deeply flawed", has reportedly been signed by police commissioners representing: Cumbria Lancashire Devon and Cornwall Merseyside North Yorkshire Thames Valley London's Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime It says Lancashire Police's annual budget will be cut by £25m - nearly 14% - and Cumbria Police's "viability" will be brought into question if its funding is reduced by £9m under the reforms. Police services in Britain face a "milestone moment", and the government's decision could shape policing "for a generation", it says. The group said they were "taking legal advice with a view to initiating a judicial review" should their concerns "not be addressed". Image copyrightGetty Images Image captionJustice Minister Mike Penning has said police funding needed to change Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, Clive Grunshaw, said the move had not been properly handled. "It's not been an open process. It's not been transparent. There's been no proper understanding or scrutiny that's been available to challenge the process because we just haven't understood what it's actually meant." 'Fair and robust' Mr Penning has previously said the reforms, which would take effect in the next financial year, would put police funding "on a long-term, sustainable footing". The current Police Allocation Formula, which has been used for nearly 10 years, is "complex, opaque and out-of-date", while the new system would be "fair, robust and transparent", he has argued. Image copyrightLancashire PCC Image captionLancashire police commissioner Clive Grunshaw has criticised the proposed funding changes The Commons Home Affairs Committee is due to hear evidence about the proposals on Tuesday, with a Home Office consultation, which began in July, due to end on Friday. Last month London Mayor Boris Johnson said the changes would "severely disadvantage" the capital. He told the London Assembly its impact "has not been properly thought through at all". Chancellor George Osborne is due to announce the latest departmental spending review in November, which will set out the details of the Home Office budget beyond 2015-16. The Met believes it will face cuts of up to £1bn, prompting Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to say it would lead to a reduction in the number of front-line officers. But the Home Office said forces would still have the resources to do their work. BBC: Full story Parliament TV: HASC Reform of the Police Funding Formula starts at 14:45
  2. Two of the country's most senior police officers have signalled that the era of routine patrols by "bobbies on the beat" has come to an end. The comments have been made by the chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), Sara Thornton, and Craig Mackey, the deputy commissioner of the Met Police. They said funding cuts would lead to a transformation in investigating crime. The Home Office said police reform was working and crime was falling. The police service does not have a ring-fenced budget and has been told to expect a 25% to 40% reduction in funding in November's Comprehensive Spending Review. 'Funding from banks' In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Mr Mackey said the Met was anticipating a £1bn cut in funding, which could lead to up to 8,000 job losses - a quarter of the force. He said compulsory redundancies were now a real possibility. He said it was inevitable the threshold for investigating certain crimes would rise, which would involve victims getting a telephone call rather than an officer at the door. The Met, he said, was also considering seeking funding from banks and other big business to help pay for investigations into certain offences - such as cyber crime. "We are driving out costs everywhere we can but when you get to these sorts of figures it will be challenging...on our scenarios some of the services you previously got face to face you won't get in the future," he said. 'Independent police force' Mr Mackey said the force had to think of "completely different models of working" to tackle cyber crime. "We should be working with business and industry to achieve that... and they can help with paying for that," he added. Asked if that meant direct funding for policing programmes, he said: "Potentially. I think that is one of the things we are going to have to think about as we go forward." Mr Mackey admitted there were "all kinds of ethical hurdles" to consider and that it would not be comfortable for an independent police force. "But we absolutely have to explore it," he added. A certain amount of "DIY policing" would also help the force, he said. "Getting people involved in the whole notion of prevention work and crime detection work has got to be part of the future." 'Fewer cops' On the totemic issue of "bobbies on the beat", Ms Thornton, formerly chief constable of Thames Valley, said: "It's a difficult one because it's one of those features of policing that the public have come to like and respect over many, many years but in fact the evidence would say that random police patrol doesn't prevent crime, doesn't solve crime, it doesn't in fact make people feel safer." Asked if she thought the days of routine patrols were over, she said officers would "always respond to the pub fight, domestic abuse, to people in difficulty" but, in the future, patrols would not be focused on areas of low crime. Minister for Policing Mike Penning said police reform was working and crime had fallen by 8% year-on-year and by more than a quarter since 2010, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales. "Over the last five years, frontline services have been protected, public confidence in the police has gone up and crime has fallen to its lowest ever level," he added. The changes made since 2010 have made it easier for the police to do their job by cutting red tape, scrapping unnecessary targets, and giving officers the discretion to use their professional judgement, he said. "Decisions on the operational deployment of resources are matters for chief constables, in association with Police and Crime Commissioners, but there is no question that the police still have the resources to do their important work. "As HMIC has shown, what matters is how officers are deployed, not how many of them there are in total." BBC: Full story
  3. Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe: London at risk as Scotland Yard faces £1bn budget cutsThe safety of London is at risk from budget cuts which could mean the loss of up to 8,000 police officers in the capital, the head of Scotland Yard said today. Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said his force was faced with massive spending curbs of around £1 billion over the next four years. He declared the savings would mean huge cuts to front line officers and warned they could damage the Met’s ability to prevent and respond to a major terrorist outrage. His comments, in an exclusive interview with the Standard, mark the first time he has spoken out in detail against austerity measures which have already seen the force make £600 million in savings. Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe The Met’s policing budget is expected to be reduced by £800 million or more over the next four years in a spending review to be announced next month. A new funding formula for police forces could also mean a further £180 million cutback in its annual budget, as revealed by the Standard yesterday. Sir Bernard said: ”It’s a lot of money and a massive change and as a result of that I genuinely worry about the safety of London. “We think we can expect to lose somewhere between 5,000 to 8,000 police officers.” He added: “For the past four years we have taken cuts in budget and we have just got on with it. We have not waved shrouds - we are the only force to have kept police officer numbers up, today they stand at about 31,800.” However, he warned that the new round of budget curbs will take the Met back to the 1970s, the era featured in the popular TV police series Life on Mars. Police on patrol in Croydon during the riots in 2011 Sir Bernard said: “We are having to face today’s and tomorrow’s challenges with resources going back to the 1970s. That’s when London had a population of around six million, today we are 8.6 million and we believe it will rise to about 9 million in 2020.” He added: “What is really important for us about policing London is that it is the economic engine for the country, the reason people come here is because they feel safe, whether it is businesses or people who want to bring the kids up or people want to grow old here. “They come here because it’s a great city to be safe in. One of the challenges for us is in keeping it safe with reduced numbers. “We would prefer this did not happen but we need to explain to the public that big change is coming along.” For the first time the commissioner spelt out the range of possible cuts facing London and warned they would lead to : Fewer police officers patrolling the streets. Police taking longer to get to non-emergency calls such as burglaries where life was not at risk. Cuts to dedicated officers in London schools. More closures of police stations - leaving just 100 police buildings in the city. An end to policing based on London’s 32 boroughs. In addition, as revealed earlier this month, the Met’s PCSOs are also facing the axe and further cuts are expected to be made to the Met’s leadership ranks. Sir Bernard said it was ironic that while London’s force was facing cutbacks, New York - which has a smaller population - was expanding its force. Warning: Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe He also voiced concerns at the Met’s ability to maintain the number of its firearms officers with a smaller pool of officers. He questioned whether the Met would have the capability to respond to a major terrorist incident such as a roaming firearms attack such as the Mumbai atrocity. Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe He said: “Should we get a roaming firearms attack could we deal with it? With a smaller force can we maintain firearms ability?” The police chief said the ability to deal with a major incident - or the London riots of 2011 - would be harder and the police response “less flexible.” Sir Bernard pledged that the Met would still respond to all burglaries, citing the “horrible” attack on Michael Winner’s widow Geraldine in Knightsbridge as an example of the serious nature of the crime. But he admitted: “We would have to “re-profile” neighbourhood policing, we have got to get to emergencies and I would want to have some neighbourhood policing everywhere” but he said some areas such as Westminster would inevitably see more officers than outlying boroughs. “It will get pretty twitchy in terms of coverage of London”, he said. “There would be less visibility. There would less of it in the neighbourhoods and in our response section. There is no doubt that we would be slower.” He also warned the “compound effect” of cuts in the wider sector such as councils would mean less CCTV coverage affecting the investigation of murder, terrorism and gangs. Speaking about the decision to remove the guard on Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy he said the savings were “relatively small” and the reason was more because “it seems a disproportionate response to continue with it and we think the public are not necessarily supportive of it.” However, he said there was still covert policing in place and police meant to arrest the Wikileaks founder if he left the premises. More about:Scotland YardCommissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howehttp://safari-reader://www.standard.co.uk/topic/commissioner-sir-bernard-hogan-howe Theres no escaping it, things are about to change drastically, we can already see some examples of it - PCSOs probably going, joint boroughs and not being chased on S-call response times.
  4. The safety of London is at risk from budget cuts which could mean the loss of up to 8,000 police officers in the capital, the head of Scotland Yard said today. Evening Standard: Full story
  5. Essex Police are expected to announce today police station closures and cuts to PCSO numbers from 251 to 60. Brentwood Gazette: Full story
  6. Police have been refusing to investigate reported attemped burglaries at odd-numbered homes, it has emerged.The scheme, trialled by Leicestershire police, is now being considered in at least five other counties after it was said to have had no impact on crime rates or public satisfaction. The three-month, money-saving pilot was designed to assess the effectiveness of how the force deploys forensic officers to potential crime scenes. It follows the admittance by Sara Thornton, the head of the National Police Chiefs Council, that the public should no longer expect police officers to turn up at their door if they are burgled. Gavin Hales, deputy director of the Police Foundation, an independent think tank that evaluates policing, told The Times: "The notion of denying 50 per cent of victims a basic service, based on something as arbitrary as their house number, looks ethically dubious at best." During the trial, forensic police officers only visted people who reported an attempted burglary at properties with even numbers. Any scene involving a vulnerable victim or that was believed to be part of a series of crimes would be visited by forensic officers and all reports were investigated by a police officer. Leicestershire police said the policy had "no noticeable impact on victim satisfaction, and nor did it affect the overall ratio of scenes visited and suspects identified. The force confirmed that the East Midlands Special Operations Unit decided to test the scheme in Leicestershire but its results are now being evaluated and it may be brought in across its services in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire too. Leicestershire Police said in a statement that new methods were needed "as a result of significant year-on-year cuts to policing budgets". Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister said: “The public would expect us to make the very best possible use of our time and limited resources to have the biggest impact on public safety and the prevention and detection of crime. “This pilot suggests that we may need to reconsider how best to deploy crime scene investigators, especially if we are currently sending them automatically to scenes where, despite their professionalism and expertise, there is no evidence for them to retrieve.” The scheme was introduced after analysis showed that forensic science officers had been deployed on a total of 1,172 attempted burglaries in the region but few scenes were found to contain any scientific evidence. Only 33 suspects were identified as a result of these visits. But Mr Hales added: "It risks being highly counterproductive, both in terms of public confidence but also successful prosecutions. Imagine, for example, a police force that finds the same tool marks at the scenes of five attempted burglaries, and then on the sixth occasion also finds a fingerprint that allows all six crimes to be solved. By ignoring half of the opportunities to collect forensic evidence, a police force would necessarily solve fewer crimes." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11784254/Police-only-investigate-burglaries-at-even-numbered-homes.html
  7. Some UK police forces are using overtime to cover gaps caused by staff shortages, BBC Radio 5 live has found. One Met Police officer received an overtime payment of £45,000 last year, according to new figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request. The police overtime bill in England and Wales totalled almost £1bn over three years and went up by £6m last year. The Home Office said the government had "already taken steps to reduce unnecessary overtime payments". "We have asked the independent Police Remuneration Review Body to consider whether more can be done on this issue," said a spokesman. "Police officers' pay should reflect the difficult work they do - but the public rightly expects that this is not abused." The National Police Chiefs' Council said it was "only right" that officers should be compensated for overtime. "Overtime does not go sick or take leave." That pithy phrase, from Tim Godwin, the former Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner, sums up the usefulness of overtime to a service that has to cope with sudden and unexpected events. Whether it's the surveillance officer monitoring a terrorism suspect, the detective constable deployed on a murder investigation, or the civilian staff employee answering calls after hours because a colleague has gone home ill - overtime has a valuable part to play. Sir Tom Winsor's review recognised that, while also recommending changes designed to reduce the overall bill. The year-on-year increase, identified by 5 live's research, does not mean that work has stalled. But it's interesting to note that some overtime payments appear to be connected to staff shortages. As the police workforce shrinks further, it may well be that existing officers and staff are increasingly asked to plug the gaps. 'For the Queen' Figures for 39 forces in England and Wales show the overtime bill rose from £307.1m in 2013/14 to £313.2m in 2014/15. The Metropolitan Police accounted for about a third of the overall bill, while in two other forces, Bedfordshire and Cleveland, the overtime bill went up by 50% - explained in part by gaps in recruitment. The Met said officers earning the highest amounts were in specialist roles, where working time was determined by the operational circumstances. An officer at West Midlands Police earned £32,702 in overtime working in a contact centre. Inspector Tony Morris from that force said "recruitment in this business area has been on hold" due to a reorganisation. "This means the department has been carrying a significant number of vacancies, resulting in an increased need for planned overtime." Sergeants and constables are eligible to claim overtime for working extra days, for staying on at the end of a shift, or for being recalled between shifts. On four days each week, officers are expected to give the first 30 minutes of unplanned overtime for free, traditionally referred to as "half an hour for the Queen". Three years ago, Sir Tom Winsor's review of policing in England and Wales called for "cultural change" to reduce the cost of overtime. He suggested that in future, the police pay review body may consider a "buy out" for sergeants which would see them give up overtime pay in return for an increased salary. Overtime for inspectors was "bought out" in 1994. Cuts regime South Wales Police reported the biggest percentage increase for overtime spending in the last year, from £5.2m in 2013/14 to £8.4m in 2014/15. The force said the majority of that increase was due to the Nato summit in September 2014, which involved 9,500 officers from across the UK, including 1,500 from South Wales. But in Scotland and Northern Ireland the figures were down on the previous year. Police Scotland spent £18.2m on overtime in 2014/15, a reduction of £6m on the previous year. The Police Service of Northern Ireland also spent less, down from £6.9m to £4.7m. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "Overtime is called upon when it is essential to maintain operational effectiveness and, in the context of capital city policing and national responsibilities, there are times when there is a genuine need to call on officers to work beyond their scheduled hours to police unforeseen events, to provide security, or public reassurance." The force said the London Olympic and Paralympic Games had a particular impact on its overtime bill for 2012/13 - when forces in England and Wales spent a total of £354.9m. Chief Constable Francis Habgood from the National Police Chiefs' Council said: "Overtime is a very flexible - and can be a very cost-effective - way of managing unexpected demand and it is only right that officers whose lives are disrupted by a last-minute order to work an extended tour of duty or work on a rest day are compensated for that disruption. "With the current cuts regime, we are doing all we can to ensure that the police service offers the best value for taxpayers' money and all forces have reduced overtime spend in recent years." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33686121
  8. Police officers have complained of a lack of resources and squeeze on officer's time as the cuts affect how the police work. In a survey carried out for ITV News with the Police Federation rank and file officers said: "there just isn't enough of us to cope." Almost 500 officers from across the country responded to the survey and were asked to list any incidents where they felt the cuts had affected their work. Officers mentioned having to prioritise cases as they was not enough man power to investigate all of them. Some officers also said that resources including computers and cars were not always available and were in short supply. Several officers also raised concerns over the handling of cases of rape, saying they are not being properly investigated. Can you give specific incidents where the cuts have affected your work? Some of the responses included: Everyday policing is affected constantlyOur main priority is now servicing 999 calls. We spend no time on responses, on actually targeting criminals- we are just responding to calls.Not enough police cars to go around. Most officers seen out on foot are doing this as they have lost the scramble for the car keys.As back office staff are reduced the work they did has not diminished. It is now officers who are having to complete the bureaucracy.It is regularly impossible to get access to computers or vehicles.Unable to attend community meetings due to further areas of responsibility which take precedence at the last minute and members of the community believe we don't care.As a Detective many of the rape cases take some time to investigate. I am dealing with some cases which are in excess of 6 months old. Due to lack of trained staff we have problems getting video interviews conducted.Incidents such as attempted rapes would have previously been investigated by crime departments. these are now routinely being allocated to uniformed 24/7 officers who don't have the time to ensure a quality investigation is carried out unless they are taken off response duties thereby reducing the number of officers available.Having to decide which rape will be investigated today and which one we will investigate tomorrow as there was not enough staff to do both.Police officer assaults are more frequent as all officers are now singled crewed.Due to lack of frontline officers, we are regularly being single crewed and sent to violent incidents, putting our personal safety in jeopardy. Also, due to lack of officers, there have been lack of resources to assist when officers have called for emergency assistance.Unarmed officers having to attend armed incident because armed officers are too far away.I have recently uncovered keeping detainees in custody too long as there are no staff to deal with them.We have closed so many police stations and are now all based in "super" police stations miles from our communities.We have officers who do not know the areas, the criminals, the community contacts or the problems. I think this is a massive retrograde step.Inexperienced call-takers, who are under pressure to answer an unrealistic volume of calls, are creating jobs for matters that are not in the police remit, mainly so they can move onto the next call, rather than dealing with the call effectively. In the last month I have been sent to incidents where callers should have been referred to Social Services, the Ambulance Service, the RSPCA, the Fire Brigade, Action Fraud, Environmental Health, the Dog Warden and the Taxi Licencing Authority.Officers are spending up to an hour waiting to process prisoners booking into custody at peak times.We have serious crimes waiting to be allocated but there aren't enough people to allocate the work to, as officers are inundated.On nights we have only 6 officers, 5 sometimes, to cover a population of a quarter of a million.There just isn't enough of us to cope.Burglary victim has waited three days for a visit.Every major incident has an affect, be it policing sporting events to murders, resources are stretched to breaking point.Prisoners being bailed out without being questioned...due to insufficient officers available to interview them.Significant investigation into vehicle crime had to be suspended as there were not enough officers to investigate.The views expressed in this survey do not necessarily represent those of ITV News. http://www.itv.com/news/2015-02-17/police-warn-there-just-isnt-enough-of-us-to-cope/
  9. The Home Office has "insufficient information" on how much further it can cut police funding in England and Wales without "degrading services", the National Audit Office (NAO) has said. It said ministers lacked information to know when a police force was at risk of being "unable to deliver services". Police funding was cut by 18% in real terms from 2010-16, and "significant" further cuts are expected, it added. Minister Mike Penning said forces still had funds "to do their important work". The NAO report said central government funding to police and crime commissioners - who receive and allocate police funds - was reduced by £2.3bn between 2010-11 and 2015-16. It said this was a real-terms reduction of 25% - or an 18% cut once local council tax funding was taken into account. The report also said: police forces "successfully reduced costs" since 2010-11 and crime fell - but this was an "incomplete picture" because statistics do not capture all crime and there is limited information on "financial or service stress"forces have "insufficient understanding of the demand" for their services, and it is therefore "difficult for them to transform services intelligently"much cost-cutting so far has been "efficiency savings rather than service transformation"the total police workforce dropped by 36,3672 (15%) between March 2010 and September 2014, and officer numbers dropped by 16,659 (12%) to 127,075The NAO said the Home Office needed to be "better informed" to properly oversee forces and distribute funding. "The department has insufficient information to determine how much further it can reduce funding without degrading services, or when it may need to support individual forces," the report said. But it said new assessments by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) should give "assurance on the financial sustainability and the performance of forces". 'False premise'Chief Constable of Lancashire Steve Finnigan, the lead for performance management at the National Police Chiefs' Council, said the report highlighted the fact that while crime has fallen in recent years, the nature of crime has changed and therefore so have the demands on the police. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think there is undoubtedly a gap around our knowledge and indeed the Home Office's knowledge of the demand that we face." "This report quite properly says we need more clarity on that." He pointed out that the digital world that we now live in presents the police with many new crimes, such as online fraud and child grooming. Police Federation chairman Steve White said the report showed the Home Office "does not have the evidence to claim that policing is coping adequately with the cuts of the last five years". "Ministers point to falling crime rates as evidence the service is coping, however they are basing this argument on a false premise," he said. "Crime stats neither take account of all crime - some of which is on the rise - but nor do they take account of all the other vital work that officers do which doesn't fall into bald crime statistics." Alex Marshall, chief executive of the College of Policing, said its analysis showed that "while the number of crimes may have fallen, the level of demand has not reduced in the same way". "Investigating and preventing crime has become more complex, particularly in areas such as child abuse and domestic abuse, and the costs of crime have not fallen as much as overall numbers of crime," he said. Policing Minister Mr Penning said: "There is no question that the police still have the resources to do their important work. "HMIC has made clear that the police are successfully meeting the challenge of balancing their books while protecting the frontline and delivering reductions in crime." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32994106
  10. Thousands of police workers across South Yorkshire have been placed on redundancy notice as bosses battle to save £29 million over the next two years.   Around 2,000 members of staff have been offered voluntary redundancy, with police chiefs hoping it will avoid them having to wield the axe and make compulsory redundancies.   Chief Constable for South Yorkshire Police David Crompton.   If an average civilian earns £25,000 a year, over 1,100 jobs would need to go to balance the books.   Union Unison claims that since 2011 over 400 civilian members of staff have already lost their jobs.   Police chiefs have had to review the make-up of the force over recent years because of Government funding cuts, with jobs having to take the brunt because 85 per cent of the budget goes on salaries.   Bobbies are protected from redundancy by law, but the Police Federation, which represents ranks and file officers, claims 600 posts have been lost over the last eight years.   Chief Constable David Crompton said: “Over the next two financial years, the force needs to make savings in the region of £29 million.   “The majority of these savings will need to come through reductions in the workforce.   “We feel that in these very difficult circumstances offering voluntary redundancy is the most constructive way forward for both the force and staff.   “Applications are now open to police staff from across the force and will hopefully mitigate against the need for compulsory redundancies.”   South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said: “We are making savings already in every area we can, but since 85 per cent of the budget goes on salaries we are left with little alternative other than to reduce the police staff salaries bill.   “By offering voluntary redundancy to staff, some people may be encouraged to make career changes and decisions to suit their personal circumstances while enabling the force to make savings.”   http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/police-workers-in-south-yorkshire-face-losing-their-jobs-1-7220903
  11.   Posted this here as it's a spoof article, although an Apache did fly over my work a few weeks ago,
  12. Police forces will have to refuse demands to take on extra priorities and others will have to do more to pick up “the pieces from society’s failings”, Britain’s top officer has warned.   Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, commissioner of the Metropolitan police, warned large budget cuts and the changing nature of crime meant radical reform of how the public was kept safe was needed.   In a speech on Thursday he said the public would need to take better care of their safety, just as they are encouraged to look after their health.   He said police would have to be more open about “rationing” how officers are deployed to protect the public from its biggest dangers, in the same way the health service weighs up the benefits of drugs against their cost.   The speech was Hogan-Howe’s biggest intervention yet in the debate about how police will cope with large budget cuts.   He said he was keen to avoid “shroud-waving” predictions of doom (“No one follows a pessimist,” he said) but was attempting to brace the public to expect police will be providing less of the services they have become used to.   Officer numbers will fall below their current level of 32,000 he warned, but said a smaller Met can still make London safer. By 2020, the Met police has to save £1.4bn, and has £800m of new cuts to make. He said police chiefs did not choose the financial cuts they face.   Hogan-Howe said cuts meant police would have to pick and choose more often what they prioritise, and most controversially, what they will not.   He said police chiefs would have to tell the public, and by implication politicians, that for every new demand made, they have to be prepared to let the police de-prioritise something else: “Perhaps we – their leaders – have been guilty too often of saying ‘yes we can’. “We never say ‘no we can’t’. It’s anathema to police officers. “But now we must be clear. Every time we’re given a new priority, we have to ask the public: what do you want us to do less of, to de-prioritise? “If you want more resources put into shoplifting or cycle crime, where is the area on which you think we should spend less? If, like us, you want more effort devoted to stopping domestic abuse, where should that come from?   “Health has done this better than policing. There was a time when the debate about rationing dare not speak its name.”   Hogan-Howe said the police were in the same position as the military, who were also facing cuts, and who have told ministers their capabilities were not limitless: “We need to spell out, like the military has, that we can’t promise to tackle everything the world throws up within a shrinking budget. If we try to fight on all fronts, we’ll fail on some.   Hogan-Howe did not spell out what the Met would do less of, but said the force spends £50m a year on 42,000 missing person cases, very few of which are the result of a crime. Investigations into historical cases were a drain on dwindling resources, he said. The commissioner, echoing concern among his fellow police chiefs, said they had to stop doing the work of other agencies, such as dealing with the mentally ill, or taking people to hospital. The force estimates that 40% of calls involve someone with a mental health issue.   Public safety was also the concern of of other agencies, such as local authorities, he said, adding: “We have to make collaboration work or we’ll be picking up the pieces from society’s failings.”   He added: “If we’re not clear what’s beyond our reach, how can others take responsibility? “If we overstretch our people, they’ll break.   “We must focus on those areas where the risks are greatest, and where we have the powers, and the expertise to succeed.” He urged a greater emphasis on preventing people coming to harm. “I believe that keeping the public safe should be just as high a priority as keeping them healthy.”   Police chiefs for years have felt hemmed in by having to spend large sums of money on what the public likes but which they feel does little to detect crime.   Hogan-Howe said: “We have to redefine what ‘visible policing’ means in the capital, or we’ll be taking officers away from high-skill, productive jobs just to be seen out and about.”   The context of the commissioner’s speech was the tumultuous time policing is going through on several fronts. On Thursday the government announced that police officers are to be banned from refusing to answer questions from investigators.   In future, officers who decline to answer during investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission will face disciplinary action.   The new measure come after the home secretary, Theresa May, rejected objections to the powers from bodies representing police staff. View the full article
  13. http://www.itv.com/news/2015-02-17/police-warn-there-just-isnt-enough-of-us-to-cope/
  14. Labour is warning that police ranks may be thinned out by the end of the decade, under George Osborne's plans to shrink the size of the state. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Thousands of police officers around the country face losing their jobs by the end of the decade as part of George Osborne’s plans to shrink the size of the state, according to a Labour analysis of figures compiled by the House of Commons library. Amid warnings of a return to the emergency-based policing of the 1980s, the analysis suggests that the Metropolitan police, Britain’s largest force, may have to cut between 1,300 and 5,200 police officers – out of a total strength of 31,000 – if the full planned cuts are introduced. The Commons library made the assessment after it was commissioned by Gareth Thomas, shadow London minister, to assess the impact of a recent warning by the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, that he has to cut his budget by £1.4bn over the current decade. In a Guardian article last week, Hogan-Howe wrote: “By 2020 the Met will need to have made £1.4bn of savings over a decade – about a third of our budget. We have saved hundreds of millions already, but from 2016 it will become a much harder task.” Earlier this month, the Guardian reported that the Met needed to find an extra £800m of cuts in the next budget period, from 2016-2020. The Met, which recently announced that it has sold its New Scotland Yard HQ for £370m, believes it can save £400m. But it has yet to identify how it would cut an extra £400m over that period. Other smaller forces around the country face similar cost pressures. Thomas asked the Commons library to assess the impact on police numbers if the Met sought to achieve the £400m cuts by reducing the force’s headcount. The library calculated that the average cost of a police officer in London is £77,000 – roughly 20% higher than the average of £63,900 in England and Wales. On Labour’s analysis, if the Met has to cut its budget by £100m in 2016-7 it would have to trim police numbers by 1,298 if it relied on officer headcount reductions alone to achieve that level of saving. If the same level of saving is required for each of the four years, this could mean 5,194 posts would be at risk. Thomas said: “George Osborne’s plans for cuts in Metropolitan police funding ... would have a devastating impact on the quality of policing in London and be the final death knell for high visibility, bobby on the beat local policing.” The Home Office dismissed the Labour claims on the grounds that the Met would not have to embark on salami slicing of police numbers to achieve savings. A Home Office source said: “Police spending cuts do not mean simple salami slicing of police officer numbers. And police officer numbers are not the test of how to cut crime – what matters is how they’re deployed, not how many are employed. The experience in this parliament – in which we’ve cut spending by 20% and crime has fallen by more than a fifth – shows that it’s possible to do more with less.” Thomas added that such cuts would herald a return to the policing of the 1980s which focused mainly on responding to emergencies. He said: “There is now a real fear that what the coalition government are planning is a return to 1980s-style policing, with people responding to emergencies only rather than proactive community policing which, until recently, people have come to expect. “This gives the police better access to intelligence about what is going on in the community, about where potential criminal activity may take place and the police are able to be much more pro-active about getting access to that sort of intelligence. If there are fewer police they will have to rely on people phoning as a result of an emergency rather than getting access to that intelligence. This might have sounded like a good idea to George Osborne and the small circle he moves but this is not the standard of policing people have come to expect and want.” Hogan-Howe issued a stark warning in his Guardian article that public safety could be put at risk if the police and its partners – local authorities, other emergency services and the criminal justice system – fail to cooperate as cuts were introduced. “Our partners face their own cost pressures, and the big concern is that if we don’t work together, with a shared view of the risks, public safety will suffer,” he wrote. The Met commissioner suggested that savings could be made by shrinking the 43 police forces in England and Wales to just nine and for the pooling of 999 calls for the three emergency services. Downing Street dismissed Hogan-Howe’s call for a reduction in the number of police forces, prompting fears that cuts will have to be introduced in other ways. Labour believes reducing police numbers would be a dangerous process. Under the A19 procedures, which are designed to protect their independence, police officers can only removed for disciplinary reasons. The only way to do it is to require officers with at least three decades of experience to retire. This means that officers with experience would have to be targeted. Jack Dromey, the shadow policing minister, said: “The first duty of any government is the safety and security of it’s citizens. But from Lincolnshire to London, the message is clear. The immense cuts to our police service is undermining neighbourhood policing and putting at risk public safety and the protection of the vulnerable.” The House of Commons Library is impartial and does not endorse individual party policies. It carries out research on behalf of MPs, including frontbenchers. Labour asked the library to assess the impact of achieving £400m of spending cuts in the Met solely through a reduction in police numbers. The library therefore did not assess other areas of police spending that could be cut. Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the Guardian: “Policing has lost 34,000 officers and staff since 2010. Until now the focus has largely been on back and middle functions. However, with every round of cuts the challenge grows more acute. “The last royal commission, of 1962, took place at a time before colour television, the internet or mobile phones. We have said consistently that only a fundamental review of force structure will enable us to make the savings demanded by austerity whilst remaining effective in the 21st-century landscape. This is what we must do.” Mike Penning, the policing minister, said: “There is no question police will still have the resources to do their important work. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recently found that forces can successfully manage to balance their books while protecting the frontline and delivering reductions in crime.We have made it easier for the police to do their job by cutting red tape, scrapping unnecessary targets, and giving them the discretion to use their professional judgement.” View the article source
  15. HMService1545925553

    The Economic Time Bomb

    Dear All, I feel like that scruffy guy on the street corner with a sign upon which the fateful words "The End is Nigh" is written. At the risk of being laughed out of sight I will share with you my suspicions and potential predictions for the UK which I think is close to financial implosion. This URL with a couple of minor issues pretty much sums up why I feel the way I do. http://info.moneyweek.com/urgent-bulletins/the-end-of-britain-3/?utm_expid=40940913-15.Npam9a8iRUSgdlVUzklU6g.2&infinity=gaw~UKGOO-BRAND-SPART-Brand-REMAR~UKGOO-BRAND+EXACT+End%20of%20Britain~28435460942~moneyweek%20end%20of%20britain~e&gclid=CPTw0rn817wCFVDLtAodkQgAWQ&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.uk%2Faclk%3Fsa%3Dl%26ai%3DCQ-B7FYYEU4TaEoj57QaAxYCQBP6iw5oEvo-GmWrOl4_6qwEIABABULjNvdwHYLvul4PQCqAB9P3R_gPIAQGpAv8CkH3BDLw-qgQhT9DwJo77mVoZAq6EB3od3SPd6Hbfa54JayH_MSc4_roxgAf0ga4BkAcD%26sig%3DAOD64_1u7O014VOuJwNJ7GHXVkVEZaGLow%26rct%3Dj%26frm%3D1%26q%3Dmoneyweek%2Bend%2Bof%2Bbritain%26ved%3D0CC0Q0Qw%26adurl%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Finfo.moneyweek.com%2Furgent-bulletins%2Fthe-end-of-britain%2F%253Finfinity%253Dgaw~UKGOO-BRAND-SPART-Brand-REMAR~UKGOO-BRAND%252BEXACT%252BEnd%252520of%252520Britain~28435460942~moneyweek%252520end%252520of%252520britain~e In summary- Our debt is so high now, there are no measures we can take to pay it back. Despite all austerity measures this government has had to borrow more than Blair and Brown combined. Borrowing is inevitably increasing and the only reason the UK's head remains above water is because the interest rates are being held low. When they cant be held low anymore HMG will not be able to repay the interest. Our credit rating will be removed and we will be unable to borrow more. When that happens, going by the actions of other governments, and this governments previous sense of entitlement, they will do a few things much as the drowning man will clutch at anything... Taxation will increase...and I mean a lot and very suddenly. Savings belonging to the public will be restrained and you wont be able to withdraw cash or invest offshore. Private pensions will be nationalised (read seized) and amended. When all that is done they will start printing money and inflation will go orbital. Then we get to the point where it is cheaper to blow your nose on a £50 note than buy a tissue. Immigration will stop and reverse and people will bail out of the UK and try to find a better standard of living abroad- UK ex pats will be encroaching on the welfare of other EU countries. People will suffer, standards of living will nose dive and some people will die in poverty. I would further posit that all the advances of technology of the 20th and 21st centuries have led us to the position where globally there is sufficient resources to feed and clothe everyone and ensure a fair standard of living.(And yes that includes the very poor in the third world). However human nature seems to be founded on greed. 90-95% of the world wealth (we are just talking silly numbers here-The money is just a way of keeping score and is no longer practical money-It has already far exceeded its maximimums relative to the acquisition of power) is held by a very small percentage of the world population. This leads us to the rather ironic situation where for the sake of some meaningless numbers getting a little higher on a computer screen, food and medicine and supplies remain in warehouses undistributed. This has always been the way in the third world and I can speak from personal knowledge of Kenya, Uganda and Cambodia, the game score far outweighs the lives that could be saved. Previously we have been happy to let this happen being safe in the Western World-It didn't really effect us. My point is-If this all does go properly bent as I think it will when the interest rates rise, and it ends up costing £20k to buy a loaf of bread- I would like people to know- There is plenty of resources for everyone-We will all be suffering for the sake of some meaningless numbers on a computer screen. HMS

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