Thanks to the Home Office for the template – over at Gadget's blog there’s been plenty of discussion of the pledge. Which is NuLabour's latest attempt to scrap performance indicators and bean counting in favour of easy to understand pledges. Which will need to be monitored. And thoses beans won't count themselves. Nor compare themselves to beans in another policing area. So no changes at all really.
My Chief Inspector emailed me a copy late lasy year, asking me for my comments – which is a bit like asking me pointedly to argue against the merits of apple pie…
I couldn’t relay disagree with most of it – but it does need translating a little, so guess what - that's what I've done:
1. Always treat you fairly with dignity and respect ensuring you have fair access to our services at a time that is reasonable and suitable for you.
Meaning: - we’ll be nice to you, regardless of your speech, hygiene or level of intoxication – and we’ll fit round your chaotic lifestyle. The unemployed often seem to ‘have a lot going on in their lives’ – unlike me who has a family, job, and so on... And so we’ll also deal with you when it suits you – even if it means missing a 72 hour NCRS deadline. (For more on NCRS, wait a few posts – it’s grim.) Don't worry about that - you won't be getting the snotty emails about it.
2. Provide you with information so you know who your dedicated Neighbourhood Policing Team is, where they are based, how to contact them and how to work with them.
Meaning: posters, press photos and newsletters featuring hordes (is that the collective noun - answers on a post card…) of happy smiling PCSO’s, who are best found in a warm office, between kettle, computer and phone. That’s where the hard work of community policing is done. But only in a non-confrontational way. For confronatation – you need a warranted officer – if you can find out who they are, where they are, and can get in touch with them. Well done – and can you let me know – I need to speak to one or two of them.
3. Ensure your Neighbourhood Policing Team and other police patrols are visible and on your patch at times when they will be most effective and when you tell us you most need them. We will ensure your team are not taken away from neighbourhood business more than is absolutely necessary. They will spend at least 80% of their time visibly working in your neighbourhood, tackling your priorities. Staff turnover will be minimised.
Meaning: At lunchtime in warm weather, you may see huddles of yellow jacketed PCSO’s taking the air and speaking to passersby. At dusk when the legions of teenage deadlegs are shouting, yelling, fighting, littering, drinking, harassing, intimidating, and even possibly shagging outside your house – you’re on your own, bucko. Leave a message on the voicemail. We’ll see you Tuesday lunchtime for tea and sympathy. (Two sugars, and could I trouble you for a biscuit?).
Oh – and your local community bobby will spend time covering section, going to Court, attending training courses, getting turned out for PSU duties, and if any good, will be headhunted by the newest squad, team or unit on the division to tackle today’s priority. (But only 20% of the time.)
4. Respond to every message directed to your Neighbourhood Policing Team within 24 hours and, where necessary, provide a more detailed response as soon as we can.
Meaning: We’ve already employed a team to call you back. They’ll ring you – honest. And leave a message on your voicemail – and possibly more – and might even leave a note at your house. Just remember to keep your phone switched on – after all – why ring us if you don’t want to speak in person? Unless it’s free of course – when we’ll be quite happy to tie up our incident handling system, time and resources, just because you rang us in the heat of the moment – because you could – because you didn’t think first - and since making up with Dean/Tracy – or finding your lost pitbull – or deciding that going to Court to air the details of your private left doesn’t sound so good – you don’t want to see us any more. And again - if we don't get back to you within 24 hours - it's our fault - we should have known that you've ran out of credit - or lost your SIM card, or you don't answer with held numbers. If you're not happy - complain - we'll even help you do that.
And it gets worse from here...